Effective Iron Supplementation Programs

Reviews of large-scale iron-supplementation programs in developing countries have reported limited effectiveness in reducing maternal anemia. The limited effectiveness is often attributed to implementation constraints including low compliance, short intervention duration, inadequate supplement supply, or poor coverage of pregnant women. For iron-supplementation programs to achieve improved effectiveness, careful attention must be given to ensuring an adequate supply of iron tablets at the distribution points, access of pregnant women to the distribution points, promotion of the benefits of iron supplementation, counselling about managing possible side-effects, and communication strategies to encourage pregnant women to consume the supplement.

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