Gender differences in household headship and level of awareness on anaemia among Ethiopian women: Evidences from a nationwide cross-sectional survey


Abstract Background: Information on gender difference in household headship in relation to awareness and practice related to anaemia is limited. This study has examined the issue under caption and provides evidence-based information for some program initiatives. Methods: Data from 970 Ethiopian women of reproductive age was extracted from a large data set collected as part of a nation-wide micronutrient programmes surveillance to examine the association between gender difference in household-headship and anaemia awareness. Data were analysed in SPSS version 20.0 for Windows. Proportional differences on some selected variables were determined using χ2 test, and a p-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Males were found to head more than two third of the households. Significantly lower number of respondents were less educated with just 140 (14.4%) having primary cycle education (grades 1-6th) (P=0.001). About half of the respondents (50.2%) were aware of anaemia, with at least two thirds of the respondents from male-headed households aware of its symptoms (p=0.004) and treatment (p=0.003), and the difference was significant. Fewer women received iron supplementation in female-headed households (28.6%) than male-headed households (71.4%), though the difference was not significant (p=0.9). Unexpectedly, significant number of respondents with low awareness was among those with primary education with some regional variations (p=0.001). Conclusion: Anaemia awareness and treatment seeking behaviour was markedly lower in female-headed households than male-headed households which can be attributed to low levels of education. Thus, to narrow the observed gap, targeted education programs for women headed household is recommended. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2018; 32(2):00-000] Key words: Gender, education, anaemia, iron supplementation, women, Ethiopia