Monday , January 17 2022

Half of Brazil's children have anemia due to lack of iron, doctors warn


Aulara Rodrigues was not yet one year old when she was scared of her. I was taken to hospital to treat untranslated fever, Sophia was diagnosed with anemia.

Image: Press Release

The mother did not understand. Enthusiasticly, the girl had never turned her nose for food since she started eating extra foods in her breast milk. Therefore, the anemia hypothesis had never crossed Aynara's mind.

– The pediatrician asked me whether she was taking ferrous sulphate as an additive to food. I said, "No. Should I?"

Aynara's surprise is common. In Brazil, it is estimated that between 20% and 50% of children up to 5 years old suffer from iron deficiency anemia. Diversity varies regionally.

– In general, children anemia is a public health problem that is estimated across the country – says Professor Célia Campanaro, of the São Paulo Pediatric Association of the Hematology and Hemotherapy Department (SPSP).

One of the ways to prevent the disease is to offer iron salt to supplement the diet. The Ministry of Health recommends the measure for each child between six months and two years old.

A new study, conducted by a team from the Federal University of Rio Grande for Sunday, shows, however, that there are few families who follow the council. Or they're badly followed.

This adds only 5.6% of children up to the age of 2, a proportion far below the goal followed by the ministry – that at least 50% use iron salty is preventative. This is, according to the researchers, despite government initiatives to facilitate access to the drug.

This team has been brought by Professor Tatiane Dal Pizzol after assessing data on 7,500 children up to the age of 12 across the country. The information had to be included in the National Survey on Access, Use and Promotion of Reasonable Use of Medicines (PNAUM).

According to the survey, which was based on home interviews with those responsible for children, only 1.8% of the group had eaten an iron salt in the 15 days prior to the survey. Frequency of usage increases as children age, but are low in all age groups. In the group with less than one year, the one where the use is more frequent, 8.5% of children use the iron salts.

"We were already expecting the use of iron salts to be short of what we needed, but the results were surprised to us," said Tatiana.

The concern is that the effects of anemia on cognitive development are serious and still underestimated. Iron is essential for the formation of erythrocytes, the blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen.

Mines also take part in the formation of bone and muscle mass, and its call increases during childhood and adolescents, rapid growth periods. Iron absences can cause behavioral changes, irritation and disruption to the child's sleep. Ultimately, it affects school performance and the ability to learn.

In order to tackle anemia, since 2004, Brazil's government has adopted a policy of procuring iron wheat and corn fruit produced in the country. And in 2005, the National Iron Supplementary Program created.

"That means that iron salt must be available free of charge in primary health units," said Celia.

The medication is not always easy to find out. Solange Rocha Trader discovered these as soon as her daughter had been diagnosed with anemia. In the Primary Health Unit (UBS) attending, in Guarulhos, the São Paulo metropolitan region, the ferrous sulphur was missing.

"Fortunately, it's not expensive medicine." I had to pay a pocket, "he said.

However, distribution failures are not enough to explain supplementary problems. According to experts, behavioral issues are pressing on this equation: it is not easy to persuade children to adhere to preventative treatment. The salt has metallic flavored iron, which does not like the taste of the little ones. They can cause a little stomach and lead to stool deficiency.

– These adverse effects can lead parents to prevent prevention. Also, many people think why they should give medication every day to a healthy child – Tatiana recalls.

According to her, it may be time for doctors and the Ministry of Health itself to change their strategy to facilitate adherence to the procedure. Instead of eating everyday, prescribe a virtual appendix.

– Studies already show that the use of iron salts three times a week, rather than daily, is effective to protect against anemia – he says.

In the house of Aynara, we've already had to overcome it. Today, she says, Sophia has become familiar with the daily doses of the medication, which she takes a little before eating, even without facial:

"When I'm late, it's astonishing." It's beaten. Now you're healthy again.

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