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Sanghvi T.G.,Academy for Educational Development | Wainwright E.,Us Agency For International Development
Food and Nutrition Bulletin

Background. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) review of nationally representative surveys from 1993 to 2005, 42% of pregnant women have anemia worldwide. Almost 90% of anemic women reside in Africa or Asia. Most countries have policies and programs for prenatal iron-folic acid supplementation, but coverage remains low and little emphasis is placed on this intervention within efforts to strengthen antenatal care services. The evidence of the public health impact of iron-folic acid supplementation and documentation of the potential for scaling up have not been reviewed recently. Objective. The purpose of this review is to examine the evidence regarding the impact on maternal mortality of iron-folic acid supplementation and the evidence for the effectiveness of this intervention in supplementation trials and large-scale programs. Methods. The impact on mortality is reviewed from observational studies that were analyzed for the Global Burden of Disease Analysis in 2004. Reviews of ironfolic acid supplementation trials were analyzed by other researchers and are summarized. Data on anemia reduction from two large-scale national programs are presented, and factors responsible for high coverage with iron-folic acid supplementation are discussed. Results. Iron-deficiency anemia underlies 115,000 maternal deaths per year. In Asia, anemia is the second highest cause of maternal mortality. Even mild and moderate anemia increase the risk of death in pregnant women. Iron-folic acid supplementation of pregnant women increases hemoglobin by 1.17 g/dL in developed countries and 1.13 g/dL in developing countries. The prevalence of maternal anemia can be reduced by one-third to one-half over a decade if action is taken to launch focused, large-scale programs that are based on lessons learned from countries with successful programs, such as Thailand and Nicaragua. Conclusions. Iron-folic acid supplementation is an under-resourced, affordable intervention with substantial potential for contributing to Millennium Development Goal 5 (maternal mortality reduction) in countries where iron intakes among pregnant women are low and anemia prevalence is high. This can be achieved in the near term, as policies are already in place in most countries and iron-folic acid supplements are already in lists of essential drugs. What is needed is to systematically adopt lessons about how to strengthen demand and supply systems from successful programs. © 2010, The United Nations University. Source

To understand the factors contributing to changes in breastfeeding duration, we analyzed data from seven countries in Latin America and from Haiti to document changes in breastfeeding duration between 1986 and 2005. We used a novel method that permits the overall change to be separated into the portion attributable to changing population characteristics (e.g., greater urban population or increased maternal employment) and the portion resulting from changing breastfeeding behaviors within population subgroups (e.g., more breastfeeding among urban women). Our results indicate that in the low-to-middle-income countries studied, which are experiencing socioeconomic and demographic changes, improvements in breastfeeding duration occurred. These improvements are explained almost entirely by changing breastfeeding behaviors, which were particularly evident in certain subgroups of women, such as those with higher levels of education, and very little by changing population characteristics. The socioeconomic and demographic changes we studied that were previously associated with less breastfeeding no longer appear to have a large negative effect. Our findings show that individual behaviors are amenable to change and that changes in individual behaviors collectively contribute to positive national trends in breastfeeding. © 2010, The United Nations University. Source

Objective To assess the effect of using stunting versus underweight as the indicator of child under nutrition for determining whether countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are on track to meet the component of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 pertaining to the eradication of hunger, namely to reduce under //nutrition by half between 1990 and 2015. Methods The prevalence of underweight and stunting among children less than 5 years of age was calculated for 13 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean by applying the WHO Child Growth Standards to nationally-representative, publicly available anthropometric data. The predicted trend (based on the trend in previous years) and the target trend (based on MDG 1) for stunting and underweight were estimated using linear regression. Findings The choice of indicator affects the conclusions regarding which countries are on track to reach MDG 1. All countries are on track when underweight is used to assess progress towards the target prevalence, but only 6 of them are on track when stunting is used instead. Another two countries come within 2 percentage points of the target prevalence of stunting. Conclusion Whether countries are determined to be on track to meet the nutritional component of MDG 1 or not depends on the choice of stunting versus underweight as the indicator. Unfortunately, underweight is the indicator officially used to monitor progress towards MDG 1. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the use of underweight for this purpose will fail to take account of the large remaining burden of stunting. Source

Lutter C.K.,Family and Community Health | Chaparro C.M.,Academy for Educational Development | Grummer-Strawn L.M.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Health Policy and Planning

Background Breastfeeding has large benefits for mothers and infants. The short-term benefits for child survival and reduced morbidity differ by population subgroup because of differences in underlying risk factors. Although breastfeeding is more common among poor than well-off women, how breastfeeding patterns change between these subgroups is important from a policy perspective as the poor will benefit more from increased duration of breastfeeding.Methods We use nationally representative data from eight countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to document changes in breastfeeding duration between 1986 and 2005, and separate the overall change into the portion attributable to changing population characteristics and the portion resulting from changing breastfeeding behaviour within population subgroups.Results Breastfeeding duration increased in six out of the eight countries and the changes observed are largely explained by changing behaviour within population subgroups rather than changing population characteristics. Changes in breastfeeding duration did not tend to be equitably distributed, but in four countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru) the population subgroups whose children are most at risk for mortality and increased morbidity from not being breastfed were least likely to show improvements in breastfeeding duration. Between 1986 and 2004 in Peru, breastfeeding duration declined by 0.6 months among rural women while increasing by 9.7 months among urban women; it increased by 6.3 months among women with prenatal care but only by 3.7 months among women with no prenatal care. Changes in breastfeeding in Guatemala and Haiti tended to favour the well-off compared with the poor, though not consistently. In Nicaragua changes in breastfeeding duration tended to favour the less well-off.Discussion While promoting breastfeeding is a must for all women, to maximize its benefits for child survival and health, additional efforts are needed to reach poorly educated and rural women with little access to health care. © 2010 The Author. Source

Friedman A.L.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Bloodgood B.,Academy for Educational Development
Journal of Women's Health

Background: Chlamydia is a leading cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, and infertility. Annual Chlamydia screening is recommended for all sexually active women aged ≤25 years, yet only about 40% of eligible women are screened each year in the United States. To promote Chlamydia screening for the prevention of infertility, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is developing direct-to-consumer efforts for sexually active young women and key influencers. To inform this effort, CDC sought to explore girls'/women's understandings of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and Chlamydia testing and STD communications and information sources. Methods: Two waves of one-on-one interviews (n=125) were conducted in 10 metropolitan areas with African American, Caucasian, and Latina females, aged 15-25 years. Results: Most participants were not knowledgeable about Chlamydia or its screening; their discussions about it suggested low levels of perceived susceptibility or relevance to Chlamydia and screening. STDs are rarely discussed in home or social settings or with partners or close friends; yet young women may turn to interpersonal sources if concerned about an STD. Providers are the primary and preferred source of STD information for girls and women, although missed opportunities for engaging young women in STD/sexual health discussions were identified in clinical and other settings. Conclusions: Providers, family members, friends, and partners may serve as important intermediaries for reaching young women and encouraging STD/Chlamydia screening. Resources are identified that could be leveraged and/or developed to facilitate such interactions. Copyright © 2010, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source

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