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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2009 May;103(5):485-92. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2008.11.022. Epub 2009 Feb 8.

Providing iron/folic acid tablets free of charge improves compliance in pregnant women in Senegal.

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  • 1University of Maryland, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, 0112 Skinner Building, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Iron (Fe) deficiency and anemia during pregnancy remain highly prevalent in Senegal because of low compliance with Fe supplementation. Improving women's access to supplements may increase compliance. Six prenatal centers in Dakar were randomly assigned to either a control group in which women received routine prenatal visits, including prescriptions to purchase iron/folic acid tablets (IFA) according to the guidelines of the current Senegalese supplementation program (n=112), or to an intervention group in which women received free IFA (n=109) in addition to routine prenatal care. Compliance was assessed 20 weeks after enrollment by pill count and interviews. Hemoglobin, erythrocyte protoporphyrin and serum ferritin were measured at baseline and follow-up. Compliance was 48% and 86% in the control and intervention groups, respectively (P<0.001). After adjustment for confounding, prevalence of anemia was 62% in the control group versus 31% in the intervention group (P<0.001); prevalence of Fe deficiency was 49% and 21% in the control and intervention groups, respectively (P<0.001). Improving access to IFA for pregnant women visiting health centers could dramatically increase their compliance, improve Fe status and decrease the incidence of anemia.

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