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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 178

Is ignorance of the weekly iron and folic acid scheme among adolescents the deciding factor for its suboptimal utilization and ineffectiveness? A cross-sectional study

1 Department of Community and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Yash Alok
Department of Community Medicine, 3nd Floor, Kasturba Medical College, Madhav Nagar, Manipal - 576 104, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_371_21

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INTRODUCTION: Targeting the huge burden of adolescent anemia, the Weekly Iron and Folic acid Supplementation (WIFS) was launched by the Government of India. Few studies have been done to assess the effective functioning of the program since its inception. The present study was done to assess the knowledge WIFS among adolescents of Madhya Pradesh and the associated factors. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was done in a total of six districts (3 districts where the national adolescent program was implemented and 3 districts where it was not) of Madhya Pradesh. Multistage stratified random sampling technique was used for the enrollment of 3213 adolescent boys and girls, and a prestructured and validated tool was used to collect paperless data. Ethical approval and consent from the participants were obtained. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS v21. RESULTS: It was observed that the knowledge of WIFS was more among adolescent girls (29.3%) as compared to adolescent boys (14.1%). More of the adolescent girls received Iron and folic acid tablets as compared to adolescent boys (60.8% girls vs. 24.1% boys). Mostly, the adolescents got Iron tablets from school followed by Anganwadi and PHC/CHC. Girls, rural location, literacy, below poverty line status, knowledge of anemia, adolescents who got iron and albendazole tablets, and adequate consumption of iron tablets (>4) were associated with higher knowledge of WIFS. CONCLUSION: The knowledge of WIFS was found to be less in adolescent boys. There is a hint of the fact that effective execution of the program among its beneficiaries leads to an automatic increased knowledge of the program, at least among the beneficiaries. Thus, an indirect but significant indirect finding is that the nationwide WIFS program needs to be put to greater focus among the adolescent boys, apart from its major focus on the female gender among most age groups.

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