Effective modalities to improve pregnant women’s compliance to daily iron supplementation

Effective modalities to improve pregnant women’s compliance to daily iron supplementation

Prenatal Iron Supplementation (PIS) has a paramount contribution for reducing maternal mortality. The coverage and compliance in Ethiopia is 17.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. The aim of this study is to determine the coverage of and adherence to prenatal IFS (Iron Folic acid Supplementation) and to identify factors affecting utilization of the service.

The formative research was conducted in eight selected woredas/districts, namely Alamata, Enderta, Menze Mama, Menze Gera, Ada Berga, Meta Robi, Sankura and Meskan. The study applies descriptive cross-sectional design with quantitative and qualitative elements targeted at determining the coverage and adherence of IFS and identifying factors affecting utilization of IFS.

The study finds that among women who gave birth in the preceding year, 40.1 per cent took iron tablets during the pregnancy. The coverage exceeded 50 per cent in Sankura, Enderta and Alamata Woredas; whereas, only one-in-three and one-in-ten women were supplemented in Menze Gera and Menze Mama woredas respectively. However, only 3.6 per cent of them took the supplement for the recommended 90 or more days.

The coverage among women who gave birth in the preceding year and among women who were pregnant at the time of the survey is 40.1 per cent and 38.5 per cent, respectively. Lack of adequate stock and poor logistic system, lack of training for frontline health workers on ANC, lack of BCC and job aid materials, fear of side effects, fear of taking medication during pregnancy, lack of awareness on the benefits of the supplement contributes to the low coverage and adherence to PIS.

[Summary adapted from author]

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