BUTUAN CITY, July 26 — At least PHP1.3 million has been allocated to combat iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in the Caraga region.
IDA is a condition where the blood lacks healthy red blood cells due to insufficient iron that enables red blood cells to reproduce a substance that helps carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, Leah Vina Vargas, Nutrition Officer III of the National Nutrition Council in Caraga, an attached agency of the Department of Health (DOH).
Vargas said IDA is common in Caraga, especially in impoverished areas, and is also a prevalent health problem that affects both developing and developed countries.
To remedy the problem, she said Caraga’s health office has allocated a sizable amount for its weekly iron and folic acid supplementation for adolescent females of public high schools in the region.
The budget is used to purchase more than 2.2 million tablet supplements to cater to the needs of more than 93,000 women who are suffering from the health condition. The supplements are also distributed to 428 schools across the region.
Vargas underscored the effort to combat IDA in the region, saying that around the world, iron deficiency affects at least 2 billion people, mostly children and women.
According to a study conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, one out of 10 girls aged 13 years to 19 years suffers from anemia. Adolescent females are more prone and vulnerable to anemia because of menstruation, rapid growth that increases iron requirement, and the high prevalence of parasitic infection resulting in loss of iron in the blood, Vargas noted.
In Caraga, the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid (WIFA) Supplementation is set every Monday in July to September and January to March every year. Target population for the WIFA supplementation are girls in Grades 7 to 10 in public schools.
Tablets will be distributed directly in public schools while children in private schools may approach their respective rural health units, according to Vargas.