Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Public Health Nutrition





Inclusive Pages





The present literature review aimed to review the evidence for community-based distribution (CBD) of iron–folic acid (IFA) supplementation as a feasible approach to improve anaemia rates in low- and middle-income countries.

The literature review included peer-reviewed studies and grey literature from PubMed, Cochrane Library, LILAC and Scopus databases.

Low- and middle-income countries.

Non-pregnant women, pregnant women, and girls.

CBD programmes had moderate success with midwives and community health workers (CHW) who counselled on health benefits and compliance with IFA supplementation. CHW were more likely to identify and reach a greater number of women earlier in pregnancy, as women tended to present late to antenatal care. CBD channels had greater consistency in terms of adequate supplies of IFA in comparison to clinics and vendors, who faced stock outages. Targeting women of reproductive age through school and community settings showed high compliance and demonstrated reductions in anaemia.

CBD of IFA supplementation can be a valuable platform for improving knowledge about anaemia, addressing compliance and temporary side-effects of IFA supplements, and increasing access and coverage of IFA supplementation. Programmatic efforts focusing on community-based platforms should complement services and information provided at the health facility level. Provision of training and supportive supervision for CHW on how to counsel women on benefits, side-effects, and when, why, and how to take IFA supplements, as part of behaviour change communication, can be strengthened, alongside logistics and supply systems to ensure consistent supplies of IFA tablets at both the facility and community levels.


Reproduced with permission of Cambridge Journals. Public Health Nutrition

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access