Iron deficiency and anemia control for infants and young children in malaria-endemic areas: a call to action and consensus among the research community

Kimberly B Harding, Lynnette M Neufeld
Advances in Nutrition 2012, 3 (4): 551-4
22797991
WHO recommendations on iron supplementation for infants and young children in malaria-endemic areas changed dramatically from universal to targeted supplementation for iron-deficient children only, after a trial in a high malaria transmission area showed an increased risk of hospital admission and mortality among iron-replete children following iron and folic acid supplementation. Since this time, there has been much debate and little agreement among the nutrition research community on how to move forward, and country policy and program decision makers have been left with incomplete guidance on how to address young child iron deficiency and anemia in their countries. The focus of a recent symposium during the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, held in Washington, DC, in April 2011, was on exploring options for addressing iron deficiency and anemia among infants and young children in malaria-endemic areas, now, with safe, effective, and feasible interventions that provide iron. Papers based on the invited presentations are included in this supplement. The first paper is a review of the relationship between iron and malaria. The second is an analysis of theoretical and practical considerations regarding the targeted approach of providing iron and includes results from field testing noninvasive screening devices. This is followed by a review of the safety of universal provision of iron through home-fortification products in malaria-endemic areas. The final papers provide a call to action by highlighting pending research issues (fourth paper) and feasible strategies to move programs forward (fifth paper).

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