Anemia has substantial negative effects on the health and economic wellbeing of nations and communities. Children with anemia experience irrevocable cognitive and developmental delays and exhibit decreased worker productivity as adults.1 Globally, maternal anemia increases the risk of pre-term delivery and low birth weight, and iron-deficiency anemia underlies 115,000 maternal deaths and 591,000 perinatal deaths each year.2

1. Walker, S. P., T. D. Wachs, J. M. Gardner, B. Lozoff, G. A. Wasserman, E. Pollitt, and J. A. Carter. 2007. “Child development: risk factors for adverse outcomes in developing countries.” Lancet, 369(9556): 145-157.

2. Stoltzfus, R. J., L. Mullany, and R. E. Black. 2004. “Iron Deficiency Anemia.” In Comparative Quantification of Health Risks: Global and Regional Burden of Disease Attributable to Selected Major Risk Factors. M. Ezzati, A. D. Lopez, A. Rodgers, and C. J. L. Murray, eds. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Anemia Prevalence


Status of Policies or Strategies to Support Reductions in Anemia*

IFA for pregnant women
IFA for women of reproductive age
IFA for adolescent girls
Iron and/or folic acid fortification legislation
Delayed cord clamping
Dietary diversity for complementary feeding
Micronutrient powders for children
Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) for household use
Indoor residual spraying
National policy on sanitation
N/A IPTp for pregnant women**
Malaria diagnosis and treatment
Deworming for children
Deworming for pregnant women
no policy
policy pending
policy in place
missing documentation

*Information from the Global database on the Implementation of Nutrition Action (GINA) ( and country strategies.
The status of policies and strategies have been identified to the best of our knowledge. Revisions and updates are welcome.
**Not part of national malaria strategy due to low prevalence of malaria during pregnancy.
Evidence-informed WHO guidance can be found here:


In pregnancy, infections are a key cause of anemia and can be prevented by sleeping under a bednet and taking intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) for malaria and deworming pills. Anemia can also be prevented by taking iron folic acid (IFA) supplements.

Only 5.5% of women received deworming medication during their last pregnancy (2011)


Infants and Young Children

For infants and young children, delayed cord clamping, sleeping under a bednet, exclusive breastfeeding reduce the risk of becoming anemic.

For young children, continued breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding (including micronutrients), preventing and treating malaria, and taking deworming pills can prevent anemia and promote healthy growth.


In 2011, 13% of children 6-23 months of age consumed foods rich in iron*

Women and Adolescent Girls

For women and adolescent girls, IFA supplements and deworming help prevent anemia.  Family planning delays the age at first birth.

One-third of married adolescent girls expressed an unment need for family planning (2011)



In households, improving basic hygiene and sanitation practices reduces the risk of infection and can help prevent anemia.

Over half of households (54%) had access to an improved source of drinking water (2011)