Weekly iron and folic acid supplementation programmes for women of reproductive age: An analysis of best programme practices
In a developing country, the provision of weekly iron and folic acid supplements (WIFS) to women of reproductive age (WRA) should be viewed as a key intervention to prevent anaemia and improve folate status.
WIFS is an important step in achieving the Millenium Development Goals of improving child survival, maternal health and universal elementary education. A successfully implemented WIFS programme will increase work and school performance and contribute to reducing the risk of anaemia during pregnancy. If anaemia is reduced during pregnancy, it reduces the rate of maternal mortality, foetal growth retardation, perinatal mortality and low birth weight. If folate status improves, it will reduce the prevalence of neural tube defects in babies.
A WIFS programme, if properly implemented, will help to achieve this. This document outlines the best practices, as demonstrated in 10 WIFS for WRA programmes in six different countries.