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Iron supplementation of young children in regions where malaria transmission is intense and infectious disease highly prevalent. WHO statement.

World Health Organization [WHO]
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, [2007]. [2] p.

Iron deficiency with its attendant anaemia is the most prevalent micronutrient disorder on a worldwide basis. In 2001, the UN General Assembly at the Special Session on Children recommended that the prevalence of iron deficiency and anaemia be reduced by one third in children by the year 2010. If achieved, this would contribute greatly to the realization of the Millenium Development Goals. In most countries, national policies have been implemented to provide iron supplements to pregnant women, and to a lesser extent to young children, as the primary strategy for preventing iron deficiency and anaemia. Although the benefits of iron supplementation have generally been considered to outweigh the putative risks, there is some evidence to suggest that supplementation at levels recommended for otherwise healthy children carries the risk of increased severity of infectious disease in the presence of malaria and/or undernutrition. (excerpt)

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