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J Health Popul Nutr. 2008 Mar;26(1):74-8.

Effectiveness of weekly supplementation of iron to control anaemia among adolescent girls of Nashik, Maharashtra, India.

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  • 1Dr Sushila Nayar School of Public Health, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sewagram, Wardha 442 102, India. prdeshmukh@gmail.com


A national nutritional anaemia-control programme in India, focusing on supplementation of iron to pregnant women after the first trimester of pregnancy, failed to make an impact. It is prudent to recommend the correction of iron stores before the woman becomes pregnant. 'Efficacy' of weekly supplementation of iron has been proved to improve iron stores in adolescence in many studies abroad and in India. The objective was to study the 'effectiveness' of a weekly iron-supplementation regimen among urban-slum, rural, and tribal girls of Nashik district, Maharashtra, India. A baseline and the mid-term assessments were done using the cluster-sampling techniques. In each stratum, 30 clusters were identified. Twelve and 10 adolescent girls from each cluster were identified in the baseline and mid-term surveys respectively. The haemoglobin estimation was done using the HemoCue system. Data were analyzed using the Epi Info software (version 6.04). The overall prevalence of anaemia came down significantly to 54.3% from 65.3%. The decline was statistically significant (p<0.001) in tribal girls (48.6% from 68.9%) and among rural girls (51.6% from 62.8%). But the decline was not statistically significant among urban slum girls. Similarly, a significant rise in the mean haemoglobin levels was seen among tribal and rural girls. However, it did not increase significantly among urban slum girls. The programme had performed poorly in urban-slum areas, as the mean number of tablets consumed in urban-slum areas was only 5.6+/-3.3, as against 6.7+/-2.6 tablets in tribal girls and 7.2+/-2.2 tablets in rural girls. Considering the biological and operational feasibility and the effectiveness of the intervention, weekly supplementation of iron to adolescent girls should be universally started to correct the iron stores of a woman before she becomes pregnant.

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