25 Apr 2018

'Alarming' rates of anaemia among Fiji children

3:43 pm on 25 April 2018

Eighty per cent of children under the age of two in Fiji are suffering from anaemia, the Ministry of Health says.

blood test

Photo: 123rf

The Fiji Times reported a national nutrition survey also revealed 60 per cent of children under five suffered from the same illness.

Ministry advisor Isimeli Tukana said to address the alarming state of children's health, a national iron and multivitamin programme would be rolled out soon.

Diet and eating patterns had contributed greatly to the rise in anaemia, said Dr Tukana, who suggested improving the intake of green vegetables could help.

But with families living in poverty, there was also a need for a discussion on how to make vegetables and fruit more accessible, he said.

A common cause of anaemia is an iron or folate deficiency which can lead to a lack of functional red blood cells meaning there is a reduction in oxygen flow to the body's organs.

A lack of oxygen flow could lead to a negative effect on brain development, Dr Tukana said.