32 million pregnant women suffers from Anaemia, study says

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Image source: Shutterstock
Image source: Shutterstock

New Delhi : The study conducted by an Indian expert says that the maternal death is twice as high in those with severe anaemia compared with those without severe anaemia. The study has been published in the journal The Lancet Global Health.

To conduct the study, researchers have taken over 300,000 women across 29 countries. The team looked at World Health Organization (WHO) data on 3,12,281 pregnancies in 29 countries across Latin America, Africa, Western Pacific, Eastern Mediterranean, and South East Asia.

Of these, 4,189 women had severe anaemia and were matched with 8,218 women without severe anaemia.

In medical terms, severity of anemia is considered by the hemoglobin concentration. A person suffers from mild anemia when his/her haemoglobin level is between 9.5 - 13.0 g/dL. If the hemoglobin is between 8.0 - 9.5 g/dL, then the condition will be considered as moderate anemia Severe anemia is a condition where the hemoglobin concentrations below 8.0 g/dL.

The study indicates that most anaemic case can be seen in pregnant women in low and middle-income countries. These women are at an increased risk of anaemia due to higher rates of dietary iron deficiency, inherited blood disorders, nutrient deficiencies and infections such as malaria, HIV, and hookworm.

A post-doctoral student at London’s Queen Mary University, Jahnavi Daru said “If a woman develops severe anaemia at any point in her pregnancy or in the seven days after delivery, she is at a higher risk of dying, making urgent treatment even more important.” She also added, “Anaemia is a readily treatable condition but the existing approaches so far have not been able to tackle the problem. Clinicians, policy makers, and healthcare professionals should now focus their attention on preventing anaemia, using a multifaceted approach, not just hoping that iron tablets will solve the problem,”

Researchers added that one best and compulsory practice for the prevention and treatment of maternal anaemia include providing oral iron tablets to pregnant women, food fortification with iron, improving access to antenatal care in remote areas, hookworm treatment, and access to transfusion services.