Anemia: Filling the Data Gaps to Better Help Children and Women

A study looked at anemia as a major public health concern, especially affecting young children, menstruating adolescent girls and women, and pregnant women, as well as related data needs. The most common underlying physiological mechanisms of anemia, researchers noted, are ineffective erythropoiesis (ie, inadequate production of erythrocytes), hemolysis (ie, erythrocytes are destroyed), and blood loss. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia globally.

Researchers highlighted gaps in knowledge on the causes and risk factors of anemia, including a lack of data on anemia in many countries, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Even in countries with data, the data is often not collected on a regular basis or in a standardized way. Strategies to improve the use of existing data and collect new relevant data were also presented, including conducting national surveys on anemia in countries with little or no data, collecting data on anemia in all population groups, not just children and women of reproductive age, and sharing data and biospecimens between countries and researchers.

Reference: Hess SY, Owais A, Jefferds MED, et al. Accelerating action to reduce anemia: Review of causes and risk factors and related data needs. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2023 May;1523(1):11-23. doi: 10.1111/nyas.14985. Epub 2023 Mar 29. PMID: 36987993; PMCID: PMC10918744.

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