According to the World Health Organization, weekly iron and folic acid supplements (WIFS) should be viewed as a key intervention to prevent anaemia. India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) programme in 2012 to meet the challenge of the high prevalence and incidence of anaemia in adolescent girls and boys (56% of girls and 30% of boys). WIFS is an evidence-based response to the prevailing anaemia situation and includes weekly supervised ingestion of IFA supplementation and bi-annual helminthic control. These interventions are complemented by a comprehensive communication program to raise awareness and improve anemia knowledge.
The program’s long term goal is to break the intergenerational cycle of anaemia; while in the short term, it improves India’s human capital through improved nutrition status. The programme is implemented in every state in the country, in both rural and urban areas, and serves 108 million beneficiaries (75% in-school and the remaining out-of-school). In this webinar, participants heard Dr. Sushma Dureja outline the WIFS approach in India and its challenges, achievements, and success factors.
Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation Program for Adolescents in India (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Q&A Responses (PDF, 24 KB)
Dr. Sushma Dureja
Dr. Sushma Dureja, Deputy Commissioner, Adolescent Health Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, is a medical doctor and gynecologist with vast clinical experience working with adolescents and women. For the past 6 years she has played a significant role in the launch of the National Adolescent Health Strategy and its roll out across all states of the country. She spearheads the implementation of the Weekly Iron Folate Supplementation (WIFS) program reaching out to the country’s 108 million adolescents. In her work, she often faces the challenge of dealing with anemia-related complications in antenatal patients; she has a special interest in adolescent nutrition and gender issues.