Online Program

Reducing iron deficiency anemia among vulnerable children in Peru: An integrated community health worker initiative

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Claudia Llanten, MD, MPH, Calle Las Camelias, 855 Departmento 301, Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), Lima, Peru
Cecilia Izarra, RN, Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), Lima, Peru
Background: Iron deficiency anemia is highly prevalent among young children in Peru. This research reports on the effectiveness of a supervised supplementation project using community health workers (CHWs) in three Peruvian communities: Azapampa, Huancayo and La Esperanza, Trujillo. CHWs provided integrated anemia prevention and treatment services within a larger community-based child health program. Aim: To evaluate the impact of CHW-supervised iron treatment, three times a week among children from 6-35 months old. Methods: Project Community health workers received training in iron dose treatment and supplementation and on foods rich in iron that promote iron absorption. Three times per week CHWs gave participants with anemia 3.5 – 4.5 mg of ferrous sulfate. The other children received a preventive dose of 1mg. The dose was given with citrus, and CHWs counseled families on iron-rich food choices and signs of anemia in children. Participant's hemoglobin levels were measured twice a year at 6-month intervals. Results: In six months, participants with anemia in La Esperanza showed recovery in 43.6% of anemic children, and 28.3% of children recovered in Azapampa. Conclusion: The supervised distribution of iron supplements and counseling to families in the program from motivated community health workers in a community-based intervention can effectively reduce anemia in children under 3 years old in one year in Peru. The integration of anemia interventions into community-based child health programs can result in measurable improvements in iron deficiency. >

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health biology

Learning Objectives:
Assess the impact of CHW-provided regular iron supplementation among vulnerable children in Peru Describe best practices for ensuring anemia reduction in child health programs Demonstrate the value of integrating iron supplementation current child health programs Explain how to retain and motivate CHWs for community nutrition programs Discuss the challenges of supporting CHWs in hard-to-reach areas

Keyword(s): International Health, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an experienced public health practitioner and medical doctor. I have a M.D. Degree in General Medicine from Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) Degree from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. I currently implement a community-based nutrition and child survival program, and have implemented many public health interventions in the past.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.