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Blantyre to roll out IFA programme to adolescent girls

By Memory Chatonda

BLANTYRE, Feb 11, Mana: Blantyre District is set to roll out the weekly administration of Iron Folic Acid (IFA) supplement to adolescent girls in schools and youth clubs soon, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established.

Statistics from Malawi Demographic Health Survey done in 2016 indicates 35.3 percent prevalence rate of anaemia among adolescent girls of age between 10 and 19.

Speaking during the District Nutrition Coordinating Committee orientation meeting on IFA on Friday, Chief Planning and Development Officer for Blantyre District Council, Pearson Mphangwe said the programme, apart from covering adolescent girls in schools, youth clubs and other community structures, will also target married adolescent girls in the district.

He said: “The programme will not cover pregnant and lactating adolescent mothers.”

Mphangwe, therefore, emphasised on the need for the targeted adolescents to patronise the programme to improve concentration in school, help in menstrual regulation and also build pregnancy stores.

In her remarks, Nutritionist for Blantyre District Health Office, Eness Kaunda said adolescent girls will receive one tablet of IFA containing 60mg elemental iron and 40mg folic acid on Wednesday every week.

“This is an on-going programme such that the targeted group will be encouraged to take the tablet until they reach 19 years of age,” she said.

Kaunda, therefore, encouraged parents and guardians to ensure that their children eat adequately before taking the tablet.

Anaemia is generally caused by inadequate food, health and care and World Health Organisation recommends that Iron and Folic Acid should be administered to menstruating women to help reduce the prevalence rate of anaemia by 20 percent or more.

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