Re-evaluating the need for universal iron supplementation in pregnant Indian women in the light of gestational age specific low hemoglobin prevalence

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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47203/IJCH.2021.v33i03.005

Keywords:

Anemia, Dietary Supplements, Health Surveys, Program Evaluation

Abstract

Background: Anemia prevalence among Indian pregnant women in 2015-16 was 50.4% and has not declined from 49.7% in 1998-99 despite the national policies on iron-folic acid supplementation. New gestational age-specific cut-offs (INTERGROWTH cut-off) for risk of low Hemoglobin (Hb) have been identified. Aims and objectives: Compare prevalences of low Hb  based on WHO and INTERGROWTH cut-offs Methods: The prevalence of anemia/low Hb among pregnant women in trimesters 2 and 3 from NFHS-4 data were estimated using the current WHO recommendations and the INTERGROWTH cut-offs. Results: Prevalence of low Hb by the INTERGROWTH cut-off was 28.1%(95% CI:26.9-29.4) and 21.7%(95% CI:20.6-22.9) in trimesters 2 and 3. Anemia prevalence by WHO cut-off was much higher at 41.2%(95% CI:39.8-42.5) and 54.8%(95 CI:53.2-56.3) in trimesters 2 and 3. The prevalence of low-Hb was similar between ANC and no-ANC reported groups in both trimesters (26.1% and 28.9% in trimester-2; 20.1% and 22.4% in trimester-3). Conclusion: The  prevalence of low-Hb with gestational age specific cut-offs is much lower compared to earlier estimates using WHO cut-off. The universal iron supplementation program for pregnant women in India need to be re-examined in this light and a tragetter Hb testing based supplementation may be more beneficial in reducing anemia prevalence.

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Published

2021-09-30

How to Cite

1.
Saji A, Baby J, Kurpad AV, Thomas T. Re-evaluating the need for universal iron supplementation in pregnant Indian women in the light of gestational age specific low hemoglobin prevalence. Indian J Community Health [Internet]. 2021 Sep. 30 [cited 2021 Dec. 5];33(3):435-9. Available from: https://iapsmupuk.org/journal/index.php/IJCH/article/view/2145

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