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HEALTH

Anemia Prevention Research Program

Anaemia, defined as a haemoglobin concentration below accepted cut-off levels, is a widespread public health problem with major consequences for human health as well as social and economic development. Estimates of the prevalence of anaemia vary widely and accurate data is not available, but in resource-poor settings significant numbers of young children and women of child bearing age are anaemic.

WHO estimates the number of anaemic people worldwide to be 2 billion and that approximately 50% of all anaemia can be attributed to iron deficiency. The most dramatic health effects of anaemia are

  • Increased risk of maternal and child mortality
  • Negative impact on cognitive and physical development of children
  • Work productivity of adults
  • Prevalence of anaemia in surgical patients increases the risk of postoperative morbidity and mortality

Though Anaemia is a major public health challenge, interventions to prevent and control are sporadic and short term – usually a 3 month course of iron tablets. Typically, once the treatment is complete, the haemoglobin level falls to below normal within a month or so. 

We have conducted a research study in Kaladgi, Bagalkot, to determine whether an integrated approach will help women consistently maintain higher haemoglobin levels.

Project Goals and Measures:

Goals Measures
Detect anaemic women between ages 14 and 49 years excluding pregnant and nursing women Do a census of targeted population and offer a test measure Hb level
Encourage women to acknowledge symptoms and rapidly increase haemoglobin levels of anaemic women (Phase 1) Use Iron Supplements as a short term booster
Permanently increase haemoglobin levels of anaemic women (Phase 2) Sell fortified food at a discounted price

Empower women to
- Detect anaemia
- Understand nutritional advice

(Phase 1&2) Group meetnigs/door to door interactions to educate women in the treatment group about anaemia & good nutrition.

Sample: Treatment Group: 500 – Iron tablets + Education + Fortified food
Control group: 500 – Iron tablets only

Status: Completed, awaiting statistical analysis.

Focus Group Discussion
 

Long Term Objectives:

  1. Extend the learning from the study to improve haemoglobin levels among patients in other clinics.
  2. Conduct group workshops through the health workers to educate women about proper nutrition.
  3. Engage with Biosense Technologies India to find a cheaper test for anaemia, for scalability and greater impact.

 

 

 

 
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