Iron deficiency anaemia assessment, prevention and control: a guide for programme managers

Iron deficiency anaemia assessment, prevention and control: a guide for programme managers

Monitoring iron deficiency interventions

This document from the World Health Organisation deals primarily with indicators for monitoring interventions to combat iron deficiency, including iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), but it also reviews the current methods of assessing and preventing iron deficiency in the light of recent significant scientific advances. Criteria for defining IDA, and the public severity of anaemia based on prevalence estimates, are provided. Approaches to obtaining dietary information, and guidance in designing national iron deficiency prevention programmes, are also presented.

Strategies for preventing iron deficiency through food-based approaches, i.e. dietary improvement or modification and fortification, and a schedule for using iron supplements to control iron deficiency and to treat mild-to-moderate iron deficiency anaemia, are discussed. For each strategy, desirable actions are outlined and criteria are suggested for assessment of the intervention. Attention is given to micronutrient complementarities in programme implementation, e.g., the particularly close link between the improvement of iron status and that of vitamin A. Finally, recommendations are made for action-oriented research on the control of iron deficiency, and for undertaking feasibility studies on iron fortification in countries. Increased advocacy, exchange of information, development of human resources, and action-oriented research are recommended for accelerating the achievement of the goals for reducing iron deficiency.

[adapted from the author]

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