Health Ministry Continues Iron Supplement Program
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has commenced the National Iron and Micronutrient Supplementation (NIMS) Program for pregnant mothers, children under five years, primary school children and adolescent girls in Fiji.
The NIMS program is evidence based coordinated in accordance with the National Nutritional Periodical Survey (with actual blood testing ) conducted by the Ministry with partner agencies in 2015 (the latest) which indicated that majority of the above mentioned group were highly anemic and as such the need for the iron supplements was inevitable.
This is in line with the WHO guidelines on iron supplements which states that when there is a 40 % or more prevalence of anemia, the iron supplements are provided.
More than two thirds of those found to be anemic were found to have iron deficiency anemia.
In the attempt to address the issue, the Health Ministry has set up the iron supplementation program.
Phase one of the program has already commenced and has been targeted to provide iron supplements to identified health promoting primary schools (to address iron deficiency anemia) with deworming (to address anemia due to hookworm infestation)
Children attending MCH clinics, above the age of 1yr up to the age of 5yrs are routinely given Vitamin A supplements and are dewormed, will be adding iron supplements in the 2nd phase.
During the supplementation program informative parental consent forms are issued to acquire parental consent for all children who are provided the supplements.
Meanwhile The Health Ministry has been providing free iron supplementations for pregnant women at antenatal clinics for the more than 20yrs to reduce the burden of iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy.