NEWS

Rate of Anaemia among females in Central Region alarming

By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA

Cape Coast, March 16,
GNA – The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has described the high incidence of anaemia
among females in the Central Region as ‘alarming’, and had called for effective
collaboration among stakeholders towards addressing the concern.

According to the
Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) conducted in 2014, more than 47
percent of women between the ages of 15 to 49 years in the Region were anaemic.

Dr Kwabena Sarpong,
Deputy Central Regional Director of Public Health, who made the call, noted
that the high prevalence of anaemia among adolescent girls and menstruating
women in the Region and its related consequences on the society cannot be
ignored.

He was speaking at a
regional sensitisation meeting with stakeholders in Cape Coast to solicit their
support for the successful implementation of the Girls Iron Folate Tablet
Supplementation (GIFTS) programme which would be rolled out in the Region in
April.

GIFTS, a public
health intervention, is designed to provide adolescent girls with free weekly
iron and folic acid (IFA) supplements, to help prevent and reduce high
prevalence of iron-deficiency anaemia among girls in that age bracket.

It is a collaboration
between the GHS and the Ghana Education Service (GES) with funding from the
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Dr Sarpong expressed
worry that the condition was as a result of lack of the required nutrition for
many adolescent girls and menstruating women, particularly where teenage
pregnancy was also high.

He bemoaned that many
adolescent mothers and their children did not eat foods that would give them
the right nutrients required for healthy growth because of poverty, adding that
adolescent girls must eat well to replenish blood and iron lost during
menstruation.

“If the adolescent girl
does not eat well. It compromises her haemoglobin level and if the haemoglobin
level is low, it’s worse for menstruation. In the circumstance where she gets
pregnant, it further worsened her health” he said.

He said the immediate
adverse effect of anaemia was poor memory and ultimately poor academic
performance, whiles the long-term effect might be complications in pregnancies
such as premature or still births and even death during delivery.

Dr Sarpong called for
effective engagement with key partners in the districts and urged all
stakeholders to play their respective roles in the implementation of the
programme to achieve the desired results.

Mrs Rachael Mensah, a
Nutrition Officer at the Regional Health Directorate, said the GIFTS programme
sought to reduce anaemia levels of adolescent girls in the region by at least
20 percent.

She said the
programme fell in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO)
recommendations that menstruation women must be given Iron Folic Acid (IFA)
supplements where the anaemia prevalence was more than 40 percent.

Statistics indicates
that 47.7 per cent of adolescent girls in the region were anaemic which meant
that they were not getting enough nutrients and families should diversify their
diets.

Mrs Mensah said the
programme would go a long way to improve knowledge of adolescent girls and
women on the causes and prevention of anaemia and as well as contribute to
improved educational performance of adolescent girls.

She stressed the need
for women to prepare their nutritious status very well before pregnancy, adding
that, it could be done by eating food that contains all the minerals especially
iron.

Adolescent girls and
menstruating women would be given health education during the programme.

GNA

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