The WHO has published global guidelines for iron supplementation and recommends daily prophylactic iron supplementation with 60 mg of iron for all women in developing countries in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy (Table 1). In other countries, iron supplementation is recommended only for women with proven iron-deficiency anemia (in Great Britain) or for women with low pre-pregnancy iron stores (in Canada). The efficacy of maternal iron supplementation increases with daily iron doses of up to 60 mg. The WHO also recommends providing low-birth-weight infants with supplemental iron drops from 2 months of age.

Table 1 Micronutrient supplementation: target groups and prevention schedules


Target group


Frequency and duration

Vitamin Aa

Children at risk of vitamin A deficiency

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