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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1994 Sep-Oct;88(5):590-3.

The effects of iron supplementation during pregnancy, given by traditional birth attendants, on the prevalence of anaemia and malaria.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara, Banjul, The Gambia.


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled community-based trial of oral iron supplementation (200 mg ferrous sulphate daily) administered to multigravid pregnant women by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) was carried out in a rural area of The Gambia. Iron supplementation led to a significant reduction in the prevalence of anaemia and of iron deficiency. Iron supplementation was not accompanied by increased susceptibility to malaria infection; there was no difference in the prevalence and severity of peripheral blood or placental malaria infection between the 2 groups of women. The birth weight of children born to women who received iron prophylaxis was increased by an average of 56 g. It is concluded that oral iron prophylaxis can be successfully delivered through TBAs integrated into a primary health care programme. This simple intervention can produce significant beneficial effects on the health of the mother without inducing increased susceptibility to malaria and has the potential for reducing perinatal mortality by increasing birth weight.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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