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
Infants and Young Children
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.
Women and Adolescent Girls
For women and adolescent girls, IFA supplements and deworming help prevent anemia. Family planning delays the age at first birth.
17% of married adolescent girls expressed an unmet need for family planning (2013)
In households, improving basic hygiene and sanitation practices reduces the risk of infection and can help prevent anemia.
Only 22% of households have a place for washing hands. Among those households, one third (33%) has water and soap for washing hands (2013)
Jalloh, U. H., H. I. Kamara, M. Turay, A. Kargbo, H. Turay, M. S. Bah, D.H. Marke, L. Conteh, A.S. Koroma, and M.H. Hodges. 2016. “Impact of Ebola on Mass Vitamin A Supplementation and Deworming Coverage in Sierra Leone.” Freetown, Sierra Leone: Helen Keller International.
Ministry of Health and Sanitation (Sierra Leone), UNICEF, Helen Keller International, and WHO. 2013 Sierra Leone Micronutrient Survey. Freetown, Sierra Leone; 2015.
Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) and ICF International. 2014. Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey 2013. Freetown, Sierra Leone and Rockville, Maryland, USA: SSL and ICF International.
Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) and ICF Macro. 2009. Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey 2008. Calverton, Maryland, USA: Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) and ICF Macro.
Profile prepared February 2016.