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Non-dietary interventions for the treatment of anemia include a broad range of approaches including clinical interventions to treat individuals with anemia and other anemia-related conditions or broader public health programs. Non-dietary interventions to reduce anemia include prevention of and treatment for malaria, helminthiasis, tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acute or chronic blood loss, and hemolytic genetic disorders.

Malaria Prevention and Treatment

Malaria control in pregnancy and childhood can take many forms: intermittent preventive regimens in pregnant women through chemoprophylaxis with drugs such as sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, prevention with use of long-lasting insecticide nets, use of environment vector control methods like indoor residual spraying, and prompt and accurate diagnosis of illness, followed appropriate use of effective anti-malarial drugs.

Deworming for Intestinal Parasites

Population-based deworming programs recommended for children over the age of one and pregnant women by WHO include mass drug administration, targeted chemotherapy, and selective therapy.

Treatment of Anemia of Inflammation Caused by Tuberculosis and HIV

The management of tuberculosis and HIV, the diagnosis and treatment approach to the associated anemia must include determination of etiology (e.g., differentiation between nutritional causes including iron deficiency and genetic hemoglobinopathies) to inform context specific, safe, and efficacious interventions.

Blood Transfusions

Women in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have an increased risk of anemia from blood loss in the postpartum period compared to their counterparts in other regions of the world. Widespread adoption of comprehensive, evidence-based, up-to-date guidelines would need to effectively occur in the healthcare systems of the most affected populations to have a public health impact.  Blood transfusions used to correct the presence of anemia and have the potential to be lifesaving, particularly when loss of hemoglobin is acute, as in postpartum hemorrhage and with severe blood loss in trauma, shock, infections such as malaria, and other emergencies.

Delayed Cord Clamping

Immediate cord clamping at birth causes blood loss in newborns by as much as 25–35 mL per kilogram. World Health Organization guidelines recommend delayed umbilical cord clamping (not earlier than one minute after birth) for improved maternal and infant health outcomes, especially ferritin in the infants. This simple, inexpensive, and safe procedure is accepted as the standard of care for infants not requiring resuscitation.

Management of Inherited Red Blood Cell Disorders

Supportive care such as blood transfusions and pain medication have long been the mainstay of treatment and management of sickle cell anemia and its complications. Management of α- and β-thalassemia, and other transfusion-dependent anemias, is limited to supportive care, including chronic transfusion and iron-chelating therapy. Management of Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency includes avoidance of known triggers (e.g., fava beans), widespread screening for the presence of G6PD deficiency, and in absence of widespread screening, the use of low dose primaquine for chemoprophylaxis of malaria endemic regions (to reduce population level risk of hemolysis in these individuals).

Limited data exists on the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nutritional status, beyond the obvious secondary effect on food insecurity, and the value of dietary/nutritional interventions, particularly in the context of anemia. As we all continue to learn from the impact of SARS-COV-2, we do not address COVID-19 in this toolkit.

Research has demonstrated the potential benefits of delayed cord clamping, deworming, anti-malaria treatment, and therapeutic clinical treatment such as blood transfusions as interventions to address the issue of anemia to varying degrees, in complex scenarios, and at times with conflicting evidence. Key factors that inhibit and motivate the desired behaviors should be considered and addressed through these interventions.

We found 17 resource(s)

Scale Up of Maternal Nutrition Interventions Strengthens Antenatal Care in Ethiopia
Technical Report published by Alive & Thrive in
This evaluation found improved coverage of maternal nutrition topics among women in Ethiopia who attended antenatal care visits and high levels of health worker satisfaction with the intervention package. Facilities could better utilize home visits and engage husbands and other household members to support pregnant women.
Nutrition‐Specific Interventions for Preventing and Controlling Anaemia Throughout the Life Cycle: An Overview of Systematic Reviews
Systematic Review published by Cochrane Library in
This review of reviews summarizes the evidence from systematic reviews regarding the benefits or harms of nutrition‐specific interventions for preventing and controlling anaemia in anemic or non‐anemic, apparently healthy populations throughout the life cycle.
Transfusion Thresholds for Guiding Red Blood Cell Transfusion
Systematic Review published by Cochrane Library in
The aim of this review update is to compare 30‐day mortality and other clinical outcomes for participants randomized to restrictive versus liberal red blood cell transfusion thresholds for all clinical conditions.
Effect of Mass Deworming with Antihelminthics for Soil‐Transmitted Helminths During Pregnancy
Systematic Review published by Cochrane Library in
This Cochrane systematic review evaluates the effects of mass deworming with anthelminthics for soil‐transmitted helminths on maternal and pregnancy outcomes during the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
Iron Homeostasis During Anemia of Inflammation: A Prospective Study of Patients with Tuberculosis
Journal Article published by Blood in
This study evaluates the role of antituberculosis treatment to improve hemoglobin levels in adults in Tanzania with tuberculosis.
Innovative Treatments for Rare Anemias
Journal Article published by Hemasphere in
This review describes the status of innovative treatments and the ongoing trials and discuss rare anemia treatments' future directions.
Public Health Deworming Programmes for Soil‐Transmitted Helminths in Children Living in Endemic Areas
Systematic Review published by Cochrane Library in
This systematic review synthesizes the evidence pertaining to the effects of public health programs to regularly treat all children with deworming drugs on child growth, hemoglobin, cognition, school attendance, school performance, physical fitness, and mortality. Evidence from 50 trials in low-to-high-burden settings suggests substantial evidence…
Interventional Strategies for Prevention of Nutritional Anemia
Literature Review published by Nutritional Anemia in Preschool Children (Chapter 14 ) in
This book chapter discusses strategies for anemia prevention in children, including dietary approaches as well as prevention of diarrhea and helminth infection.