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Community-based distribution of iron–folic acid supplementation in low- and middle-income countries: a review of evidence and programme implications

Publish Date: October 2017
Author: Justine A. Kavle, Megan Landry

This literature review aimed to review the evidence for community-based distribution (CBD) of iron–folic acid (IFA) supplementation as a feasible approach to improve anaemia rates in low- and middle-income countries. CBD programmes had moderate success with midwives and community health workers (CHW) who counselled on health benefits and compliance with IFA supplementation. CHW were more likely to identify and reach a greater number of women earlier in pregnancy, as women tended to present late to antenatal care. Targeting women of reproductive age through school and community settings showed high compliance and demonstrated reductions in anaemia. CBD of IFA supplementation can be a valuable platform for improving knowledge about anaemia, addressing compliance and temporary side-effects of IFA supplements, and increasing access and coverage of IFA supplementation.