In healthy individuals, red blood cells (RBC) regulate oxygen supply to meet the physiological needs of the body. Red blood cells circulate for approximately four months, after which they are replaced by new RBCs from the bone marrow. Anemia develops when RBCs can no longer maintain their oxygen-carrying capacity. This can be the result of inadequate RBC production, a decreased life span of RBCs, increased blood loss, other factors that depress the numbers of RBCs, or a combination of these causes.

The causes of anemia and its severity differ among geographic regions. Common causes of anemia include genetic conditions, infection and inflammation, and insufficient nutrients in the diet.

Frequently, a combination of these causes is present, with effects varying among different population groups. The Global Burden of Disease Study reveals an overlap between regions with a high prevalence of anemia due to iron deficiency and regions with endemic infections and/or widespread genetic disorders affecting hemoglobin structure, synthesis, and function.

We found 30 resource(s)

Maternal Hookworm Infection and Its Effects on Maternal Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Systematic Review published by The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in
This systematic review synthesizes the evidence on the association between maternal hookworm and maternal anemia, as well as maternal hookworm co-infection with malaria. Despite a modest decline in prevalence of hookworm infection among all at-risk individuals, the review discovered persistent hookworm-associated morbidity in the form of maternal…
WHO Malaria Report 2019
Technical Report published by World Health Organization in
The WHO World Malaria Report 2019 is based on information received from more than 80 countries and areas with ongoing malaria transmission. The report tracks investments in malaria programs and research, as well as progress across all intervention areas: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, elimination, and surveillance. This information is…
Maternal Anemia during Pregnancy and Small for Gestational Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Systematic Review published by The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine in
This systematic review aims to determine the relationship between maternal anemia during pregnancy and newborns small for gestational age. The review considers 10 studies including more than 600,000 pregnant women and identifies a nonsignificant relationship between maternal anemia during pregnancy and small-for-gestational-age births. Maternal…
Operational Guidance on Interventions to Reduce Anemia
Information, Education and Communication Materials published by WHO eLENA in
The below-listed external resources provide important information on relevant health topics related relevant for anemia and its etiologies.
Malaria Control Interventions Contributed to Declines in Malaria Parasitemia, Severe Anemia, and All-Cause Mortality in Children Less Than 5 Years of Age in Malawi, 2000-2010
Journal Article published by American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in
This study evaluated the impact of malaria control efforts on malaria morbidity and all-cause childhood mortality in Malawi between 2000 and 2010.
Six Key Actions to Reduce Anemia
Toolkit published by SPRING in
This brief describes country-led efforts to coordinate and implement anemia prevention and control, offering lessons learned to help other countries design the best possible solutions.
Changing the Way We Think About Micronutrient Assessment and Anemia Programming
Brief published by SPRING in
The Biomarkers Reflecting Inflammation and Nutritional Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) project set out to improve the interpretation of iron and vitamin A biomarker results and our understanding of the main risk factors for anemia. The BRINDA findings indicate the importance of applying adjustments for inflammation to iron and vitamin A biomarkers…
Oral Iron Supplements for Children in Malaria‐Endemic Areas
Systematic Review published by Cochrane Library in
This Cochrane Systematic Review aims to evaluate the effects and safety of iron supplementation, with or without folic acid, in children living in areas with hyperendemic or holoendemic malaria transmission. The review includes 35 trials and concludes that iron treatment does not increase the risk of clinical malaria in resource-limited settings…