- In areas where health services are sufﬁcient to help prevent and treat malaria, giving iron supplements may reduce clinical malaria. In areas where these services are not available, iron supplementation may reduce the number of children with clinical malaria.
- Overall, iron resulted in fewer anaemic children at follow up, and the end average change in haemoglobin from base line was higher with iron.
- There was no increased risk of death among children treated with iron, although the quality of the evidence for this was low.
Children living in malarial areas commonly develop anaemia. Long-term anaemia is thought to delay a child’s development and make children more likely to get infections. In areas where anaemia is common, health providers may give iron to prevent anaemia, but there is a concern amongst researchers that this may increase the risk of malaria. It is thought that the iron tablets will increase iron levels in the blood, and this will promote the growth of the Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria.
Evidence Assessment: Oral iron supplements for children in malaria-endemic areas