Public Health Nutrition

HOT TOPIC – Nutrition in low and middle income countries

The Adolescent Girls’ Anaemia Control Programme: a decade of programming experience to break the inter-generational cycle of malnutrition in India

Víctor M Aguayoa1 c1, Kajali Paintala1 and Gayatri Singha1

a1 Child Nutrition and Development Programme, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 73 Lodi State, New Delhi, India

Abstract

Objective To document the scale-up of India's Adolescent Girls’ Anaemia Control Programme following a knowledge-centred framework for scaling up nutrition interventions and to identify the critical elements of and lessons learned from a decade of programme experience for the control of anaemia in adolescent girls.

Design We reviewed all articles, programme and project reports, and baseline and endline assessments published between 1995 and 2012 regarding the control of anaemia through intermittent iron and folic acid supplementation; key programme specialists and managers were interviewed to complete or verify information wherever needed.

Setting India.

Subjects Adolescent girls.

Results The scale-up of India's Adolescent Girls’ Anaemia Control Programme followed a knowledge-centred programme cycle comprising five phases: Evidence, Innovation, Evaluation, Replication and Universalization. By the end of 2011, the programme was being rolled out in thirteen states and was reaching 27·6 million adolescent girls of whom 16·3 million were school-going girls and 11·3 million were out-of-school girls. Building on the critical elements of and lessons learned from the programme, the Government of India launched in 2012 the national Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) programme to universalize the benefits of anaemia control to the overall population of Indian adolescents.

Conclusions The Adolescent Girls’ Anaemia Control Programme in India provides a good example of how a knowledge-centred approach can successfully guide the scaling up of public health nutrition interventions and facilitate intersectoral convergence among different government departments and development partners to break the inter-generational cycle of undernutrition and deprivation.

(Received June 01 2012)

(Revised October 14 2012)

(Accepted December 06 2012)

(Online publication January 24 2013)

Keywords

  • India;
  • Adolescent girls;
  • Anaemia;
  • Supplementation;
  • Knowledge

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email vaguayo@unicef.org

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