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J Trop Pediatr. 2005 Apr;51(2):67-71. Epub 2005 Jan 26.

Effectiveness of biweekly versus daily iron-folic acid administration on anaemia status in preschool children.

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The Department of Paediatrics and Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow 226003, India.


Three-quarters of preschool children in India are anaemic. With the aim of identifying a cost-effective strategy for iron supplementation, the study objective was to assess the effectiveness of daily versus biweekly iron-folic acid (IFA: 20 mg elemental iron and 0.1 mg folic acid/tablet) on change in haemoglobin (Hb) levels of preschool children (3-6 years). This was a rural community-based effectiveness study in Uttar Pradesh, North India. IFA was given in two schedules: biweekly (2 tablets/dose) and daily (1 tablet/dose) for 1 year with fortnightly monitoring for adherence. A total of 400 and 403 children were enrolled in daily and biweekly regimes, respectively, of which 57.32 per cent and 50.25 per cent were anaemic (Hb <11 g/dl) in each group. Adherence in biweekly and daily regimes was 89.05 per cent vs. 63.5 per cent. After 1 year, the mean Hb rise in daily and biweekly regime was 1.063 g/dl (SD: 1.6; p = 0.000) and 1.053 g/dl (SD: 1.73; p = 0.001), respectively. Reduction in point prevalence of anaemia was 65.7 per cent daily vs. 56.1 per cent in biweekly regimen (p = 0.0047). We conclude that biweekly as well as daily IFA administration is effective in raising Hb levels and decreasing community prevalence of anaemia significantly. However, since there is better adherence and lower drug costs associated with biweekly IFA administration, this can be considered for programme use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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