A report from Center for Health Research University of Indonesia conducted in 2016 in three provinces found a high prevalence rate of anemia cases among pregnant women. In East Java, the prevalence of anemia was 30% and for South Sulawesi 31%. The highest prevalence rate was found in East Nusa Tenggara, where it reached 44%. This means that for 10 pregnant women 3 or 4 would be anemic.
This report also found that generally, the degree of anemia prevalence is higher if the women had a lower educational status. Anemia prevalence was found to be higher in the third trimester of pregnancy.
In response to the burden of anaemia on pregnant women, IFA (Iron-Folic Acid) supplementation programs were implemented across Indonesia, however the success was found to vary between the 3 provinces that this study focused on. More than 95% of pregnant mothers in East Java reported receiving IFA tablets at least once during their last pregnancy, while in East Nusa Tenggara, a province that is more remote from the capital and is considered to have less access to healthcare, the figure was 89%. In South Sulawesi 93% of mothers had received IFA tablets at least once.
The above problems of distribution are compounded by adherence issues. Between all study provinces, 42% of women reported consuming some of the tablets and 56% of mothers reported consuming all tablets. There was little regional variation for the latter; East Java 59%, East Nusa Tenggara 59%, South Sulawesi 55%.
This study considered women as compliant if they took 80% or more of received IFA tablets. The highest rate of compliance was in South Sulawesi at 60% which was followed by East Java and East Nusa Tenggara.
This report highlighted the high prevalence of anaemia and issues in implementation of IFA supplementation, namely in distribution and adherence. Further research should aim to optimise the program to address this pressing health issue in Indonesia.
This information was adapted from Key Findings, a Baseline Survey submitted to the Micronutrent Initiative in 2016 by the Center for Health Research at the Faculty of Public Health, Universitas Indonesia.