Anemia: Iron Deficiency Is Not Always the Culprit

The sky-high anemia rates revealed by Sierra Leone’s 2013 national survey came as little surprise, but they did reveal that tackling iron deficiency was the wrong battle, writes Andrew Green.

Only around 4% of anemia cases in children were caused by iron deficiency, and inflammation and infection were more of a driving force, the survey found. The illuminating results informed a new, evidence-based anemia reduction strategy that seeks out root causes and creates tailored interventions.

As countries lag behind on the World Health Assembly’s anemia reduction target, Sierra Leone’s case could be a useful blueprint for re-evaluating anemia response, Green writes.

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