Improved Learning through better Health, Nutrition and Education for the School-Age Child.
Anaemia is a condition where the number of red blood cells in the body are insufficient to meet physiologic needs and it is an indication of poor health and nutrition. Children are particularly vulnerable to anaemia and according to the
World Health Organization an estimated 53% of school-age children suffer from Iron Deficient Anaemia (IDA) globally. It can be assumed that in resouce poor areas significant proportions of young children are anaemic.
Other Contributing Factors
Anaemia is the most common micronutrient deficiency and in addition to lack of iron in the diet it can be caused by parasitic diseases, in particular worm infections hookworm and schistosomiasis, and malaria which cause blood loss and contribute to the cause. Deficiencies in other micronutrients, for instance, Vitamin B12 and folate can also be contributing factors.
Iron deficient anaemia (IDA) has severe consequences on the cognitive and physical development of children with studies indicating school performance suffers as a result of this deficiency. This hypothesis is strengthened by research which links iron supplementation to improved concentration, school performance and educational achievement.
School based Interventions to Combat Anaemia
Iron supplementation is an important component of school-based health and nutrition programmes. School feeding programmes which plan for iron rich menus and fortifies food with iron supplementations are an effective intervention. Interventions which also integrate deworming and focus on lessening malaria prevalence also further compliment school feeding objectives to target malnutrition and iron deficiency.