A School-Based Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation Program Effectively Reduces Anemia in a Prospective Cohort of Ghanaian Adolescent Girls
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A School-Based Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation Program Effectively Reduces Anemia in a Prospective Cohort of Ghanaian Adolescent Girls

  • Published Date:

    01 2021

  • Source:
    J Nutr. 151(6):1646-1655
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Public Access Version Available on: June 01, 2022, 12:00 AM information icon
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Nutr
  • Description:
    Background: School-based iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation is recommended for adolescent girls in countries with high burdens of anemia. Objectives: We aimed to evaluate the context-specific effectiveness of a school-based, integrated anemia control program with IFA supplementation in Ghana. Methods: Using data from a pre-post, longitudinal program evaluation, we evaluated the effectiveness of school-based weekly IFA supplementation in reducing the burden of anemia and increasing hemoglobin concentrations (Hb; primary outcomes) in 2 regions of Ghana. Generalized linear mixed effects models with schools (clusters) as random effects were used to quantify the change in the anemia prevalence and the mean Hb associated with cumulative IFA tablet consumption over 1 school year (30–36 weeks), controlling for participant-level potential confounders. A cut point for minimum effective cumulative IFA consumption that is reflective of adequate Hb was derived following logistic regression. This cut point was verified by a restricted cubic spline model of IFA consumption and Hb. Results: The analytical sample included 60 schools and 1387 girls ages 10–19 years. The prevalence of anemia declined during 1 school year of the intervention, from 25.1% to 19.6% (P = 0.001). Students consumed a mean of 16.4 IFA tablets (range, 0–36). IFA consumption was positively associated with Hb and negatively associated with anemia. Each additional IFA tablet consumed over the school year was associated with a 5% (95% CI, 1–10%) reduction in the adjusted odds of anemia at follow-up, though the relationship is nonlinear. The cut point for minimum effective consumption was 26.7 tablets over a 30–36-week school year, with tablets provided weekly. Conclusions: School-based weekly IFA supplementation is effective in improving Hb and reducing the anemia prevalence among schoolgirls in Ghana, though most participants consumed fewer than the minimum effective number of IFA tablets. Increasing intake adherence may further improve anemia outcomes in this population. J Nutr 2021;00:1–10.
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