A day’s media engagement on anaemia held in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region has underscored the urgent need for the media to use their respective mediums to educate and diffuse public misconceptions on the intake of Girls’ Iron and Florate Tablet Supplementation currently being rolled out in Junior and Senior High Schools across the region.
The programme dubbed “GIFTS” was adopted as one of the several ongoing health actions to reduce the high rate of anaemia in adolescents and women of childbearing in Ghana.
The engagement session organised by the Regional Health Directorate brought together media practitioners among stakeholders from the health and education sector.
Anaemia which is common among children, women of childbearing age and adolescent girls are considered a major public health concern.
Reliable data shows that about 42 percent of women are anaemic, out of which 45 percent are pregnant women with 48 percent being adolescent girls.
It further revealed that 43 percent of women that reported for Antenatal Care in health facilities of the Upper East Region were anaemic. The region has been struggling with the prevalence of anaemia.
Therefore the provision of the Girl’s Iron Folate Tablet Supplementation which is a combination of Iron and Folic Acid serves as a cost-effective intervention in addressing the high prevalence of anaemia in the region.
At the media engagement forum in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Service, Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dotsi expressed worry over myths and misconceptions surrounding the intake of the tablet since its inception in 2017.
Dr. Dotsi, therefore, encouraged adolescent girls and pregnant women to regularly take local meals with high nutritional value in order to stay healthy at all times.
Anaemia is a condition where an individual loses enough blood in the body. However, when nutrients in the body are deficient, anaemia occurs and this requires the intake of food rich in iron and Folic acid for rapid production and growth of the red blood cells.
Anaemia is common among children under 5, pregnant women and adolescent girls due to blood loss during menstruation and also persons with lower haemoglobin of 12 grams per decilitre.
Dr. Dotsi, therefore, encouraged adolescent girls and pregnant women to take local meals with high nutritional value to stay healthy at all times.
A girl may have anaemia if she has pale palms, nail beds and inner eyelids, general weakness and lack of concentration. Anaemic women may also experience pregnancy complications such as premature birth and babies with low birth weight.
Moreover, children born of anaemic women mostly perform poorly at school leading to a high rate of school dropout.
Speaking to GBCNEWS, the Regional Nutritional Officer Gloria Kobati encouraged parents to allow their wards to take the tablet devoid of misconceptions.
Some of the participants took the tablet to erase the misconceptions about the supplement. Experts say Iron and Folic Acid supplements are potent drugs that come with no side effects.
Advisedly, persons with malaria and other acute infections are encouraged to seek treatment before taking the drugs. Iron and Folic Acids supplements can be obtained from drug stores and pharmacy shops as a liquid preparation or as a tablet.