GHS Administers Iron Supplement To 65,208 Adolescent Girls

The Upper East Regional Health Directorate has successfully administered 65,208 adolescent girls with multivitamin supplements to boost their immune system against iron deficiency.

The Girls’ Iron-Folate Tablet Supplementation (GIFTS), is a programme run by the Ghana Health Service in the Upper East Region to ensure that in-school and out of school menstruating adolescent girls in the region, were protected against anaemia.

The GIFTS programme was piloted in four regions of the country including the Upper East Region by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) with support from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), the Canadian government, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Ghana Education Service (GES).

The intervention, which started in October 2016, is expected to end in 2019. It is aimed at reducing and preventing anaemia by 20 percent in women of childbearing age, and adolescents through weekly iron and folic acid supplementation.

At a stakeholder review meeting held in Bolgatanga, Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, said the ongoing programme involved a weekly distribution of Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplements to all adolescents aged 10 to 19 years on every Wednesday, known as “GIFTS Wednesday” across all public Junior and Senior High Schools in the region.

He said the Directorate targets to administer 97,608 adolescent girls by the end of the programme, but had so far reached out to 65,208, and indicated that the intervention was meant to build the iron and folate stock of the girl child, which would prevent postpartum hemorrhage when they grow into adulthood and ready for childbirth.