Preventing and controlling iron deficiency anaemia through primary health care

A guide for health administrators and programme managers

E.M. DeMaeyer (with collaboration of P. Dallman, J.M. Gurney, L. Hallberg, S.K. Sood, S.G. Srikantia)

Publication details

Number of pages: 58
Publication date: 1989
Languages: English
ISBN: 92 4 154249 7



Iron deficiency anaemia afflicts millions of people the world over, primary women of childbearing age and their young children in developing countries. Cost-benefit studies have shown that it makes economic good sense to prevent this debilitating, and sometimes fatal, condition by supplementing the diet with medicinal iron. This and other control approaches that lend themselves to implementation through primary health care are the main subject of this guide.

The information included in this book will allow programme managers to build up a coherent strategy for the control of iron deficiency anaemia. First, the factors that govern the body's absorption of iron are explained and the daily iron requirements of various population groups summarized. Building on this information, the book shows how relatively simple dietary changes could prevent anaemia.

It also outlines other useful interventions, such as better feeding of ill children and the distribution of iron tablets. Up-to-date laboratory methods for detecting anaemia and iron deficiency are described, although the guide stresses that routine laboratory confirmation is unnecessary in the case of pregnant women, who almost invariably require medical iron. The final section of the book provides guidance on fashioning an appropriate control strategy and assigning responsibility for the various tasks involved.