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In India, severe anemia has been one of the causes of high maternal mortality and death of newborns and infants due to low birthweight. The prevalence of anemia among women ages 15–44 is extremely high. The Government of India has provided iron and folic acid tablets (IFA) as a prophylaxis against nutritional anemia among pregnant women as part of the Child Survival and Safe Motherhood program and will continue to do so in the Reproductive and Child Health package. This paper presents findings of both qualitative and quantitative research conducted among pregnant women to investigate the extent of distribution and use, information provision, and knowledge and perceptions regarding IFA tablets and reasons for nonuse. The study shows that consumption rate of IFA tablets is high if women are knowledgeable and have positive experiences after taking the tablets. Findings suggest that more accurate and complete information should be provided to pregnant women while distributing IFA tablets along with health and nutritional education messages. At the same time, follow-up visits and counseling are essential to address symptoms that are not related to IFA.






Asia & Near East Operations Research and Technical Assistance Project