Combatting Iron Deficiency in Morocco

11 October 2013
Thirty-six percent of Moroccan women of childbearing age (18-35) have iron deficiency anaemia.Almost half of all the North African nation's pregnant women are iron deficient.(Photo - Premature babies being treated with UV light). Children born to anaemic mothers run the risk of being born too small, being born early, experiencing organ malfunction, or being unable to fight off infections. Severe anemia can impair growth, motor and mental development, shorten attention span and decrease alertness. Anaemia in adults can cause weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, dizziness and tinnitus.<br /><br /> 
 (Source: <a href='http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/anemia#ixzz2ZTGA8lf6'>University of Maryland Medical Center</a>)Also, children and foetuses (which are both experiencing rapid growth) need large quantities of iron to facilitate development and forestall health complications.As a result, the government of Morocco is working to improve the nutritional status of the entire population, but especially of mothers and women of childbearing age. The government has been adding iron to the nation's flour supply since 2006. This process is called fortification.To test the effectiveness of the fortification programme, researchers in the Faculty of Medicine at Mohammed V University in Rabat are now in partnership with the IAEA to perfect tests that can determine how much iron has been absorbed into the body after consuming fortified flour.The Science: the study participant is given drops of isotopic iron (<sup>57</sup>Fe and <sup>58</sup>Fe) on a piece of bread. 16 days later a small blood sample is taken to measure the amount of iron - from fortified flour - that was absorbed by the body. <br /><br />© IAEA
Last update: 14 October 2014