Adherence to weekly iron and folic acid supplementation among the school students of Thrissur corporation – a cross sectional study

Sajna M. V., Shefaly Ann Jacob


Background: Anemia is one of the major problems among adolescents in India. As daily and once weekly supplementation of iron and folic acid show same effects in terms of growth rate, it has been decided that weekly supply is an effective method to tackle anaemia. The adherence to these tablets is an important factor to monitor the programme.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among the school students of 6-10th classes in Thrissur corporation area for a period of 6 months regarding the adherence to weekly iron and folic acid tablets. Sample size was calculated based on a pilot study and for a cluster sampling technology. After getting consent, data were collected, coded and analysed using SPSS17.

Results: 380 students participated in the study. Mean age of the population was 13.01+ 1.3 years (with a range of 10 – 16 years). Only 139 (36.6%) students took tablets initially for a period of 1-2 months. Among the total girls, 124 (34.6%) took tablets initially. Of the students who took initially, 57 were continuing intake of iron tablets. The adherence to weekly iron and folic acid tablets for at in this study was 15% (n=57). Among the students who initially consumed tablets 36.6% reported stomach ache. Nausea (13.6%), vomiting (10.7%), black stool (9.3%), diarrhoea (5%) were other reported side effects of the drugs.

Conclusions: The adherence to weekly iron and folic to this study was less. This can be effectively improved with continued health education sessions using different methods including the parents.


Adherence, Weekly iron and folic acid supplementation, Cluster sampling

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