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
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
IPTp for pregnant women
Malaria diagnosis and treatment
Deworming for children
Deworming for pregnant women
| no policy|
| policy in place |
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.
Not enough women are taking IPTp to prevent malaria during pregnancy (54%, 2010)
For infants and young children, delayed cord clamping, sleeping under a bednet, and 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 2010, 45% 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 out of four married adolescent girls expressed an unmet need for family planning (2010)
National Statistical Office (NSO) and ICF Macro. 2011. Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2010. Zomba, Malawi, and Calverton, Maryland, USA: NSO and ICF Macro.
National Statistical Office (NSO) [Malawi], and ORC Macro. 2005. Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2004. Calverton, Maryland, USA: NSO and ORC Macro.
National Statistica l Office [Malawi] and ORC Macro. 2001. Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2000. Zomba, Malawi and Calverton, Maryland, USA: National Statistical Office and ORC Macro.
Profile prepared September 2015.