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A randomised trial in Mali of the effectiveness of weekly iron supplements given by teachers on the haemoglobin concentrations of schoolchildren

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2007

Andrew Hall
Affiliation:
Helen Keller International, PO Box 6066, Gulshan, 1212 Dhaka, Bangladesh
Natalie Roschnik*
Affiliation:
Save the Children (USA), BP 3105, Bamako, Mali Present address: Save the Children, 54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT 0680, USA
Fatimata Ouattara
Affiliation:
Institut National de Recherche en Santé Publique, BP 1771, Bamako, Mali
Idrissa Touré
Affiliation:
Institut National de Recherche en Santé Publique, BP 1771, Bamako, Mali
Fadima Maiga
Affiliation:
Save the Children (USA), BP 3105, Bamako, Mali
Moussa Sacko
Affiliation:
Institut National de Recherche en Santé Publique, BP 1771, Bamako, Mali
Helen Moestue
Affiliation:
Helen Keller International, PO Box 6066, Gulshan, 1212 Dhaka, Bangladesh
Mohamed Ag Bendech
Affiliation:
Institut National de Recherche en Santé Publique, BP 1771, Bamako, Mali
*
*Corresponding author: Email nroschnik@savechildren.org
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Abstract

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Objective:

To assess the effect on the haemoglobin concentrations of schoolchildren of weekly iron tablets administered by teachers.

Design:

Sixty schools were randomly assigned to two groups: in 30 schools children were given weekly for 10 weeks a tablet providing 65 mg of iron and 0.25 mg of folic acid; in the other 30 schools no iron tablets were given. All children were dewormed and given vitamin A before the study began. The haemoglobin concentration of up to 20 randomly selected children in each school was estimated before and 2 weeks after the end of treatment.

Setting:

Rural community schools in Kolondieba district of Mali.

Subjects:

Some 1113 schoolchildren aged 6–19 years with a mean of 11.4 years.

Results:

The haemoglobin concentration of treated children rose on average by 1.8 g l-1 (P < 0.001) and the prevalence of anaemia fell by 8.2% (P < 0.001); in untreated children the haemoglobin concentration fell by an average of -2.7 g l-1 (P < 0.001) and the prevalence of anaemia rose by 9.4% (P < 0.001). The fall in haemoglobin concentration among untreated girls of -4.0 g l-1 was greater than in untreated boys (-0.3 g l-1, P < 0.001).

Conclusions:

Weekly iron tablets given by teachers prevented a general fall in the haemoglobin concentrations of untreated children, and led to a small but statistically significant rise among treated children (P < 0.001). Young children benefited more than children aged ≥12 years, and girls benefited more than boys.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © CABI Publishing 2002

References

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