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Effectiveness of communication campaign on iron deficiency anemia in Kyzyl-Orda region, Kazakhstan: a pilot study

Ainur Baizhumanova1*, Akio Nishimura2, Katsuki Ito1, Junichi Sakamoto1, Nailya Karsybekova3, Igor Tsoi4 and Nobuyuki Hamajima5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Young Leaders' Program for Medical Administration and Politics, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, 65 Tsurumai-Cho, Nagoya, 466-8550, Japan

2 Department of Education Training, Technology and Development, National Institute of Public Health, 2-3-6 Minami, Wako, 351-0197, Japan

3 Department of Alimentary Dependent Diseases, Institute of Nutrition Issues, 49 Beibitshilik Str, Astana, 010000, Kazakhstan

4 Kazakh Academy of Nutrition, National Academy of Sciences, 66 Klochkov Str, Almaty, 050000, Kazakhstan

5 Department of Preventive Medicine/Biostatistics and Medical Decision Making, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, 65 Tsurumai-Cho, Nagoya, 466-8550, Japan

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BMC Blood Disorders 2010, 10:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2326-10-2

Published: 17 March 2010



In 2004, wheat flour fortification (WFF) with iron was implemented in Kazakhstan as a public health strategy to increase the iron intake of all women of childbearing age and of children. In 2003, before starting the flour fortification program, a communication campaign on health education took place in a region with a high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (IDA). The present study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of anemia, iron deficiency and IDA before and after the campaign. In addition, knowledge about IDA and its prevention, as well as awareness about fortified wheat flour, was assessed.


The subjects of the study were women aged 15-49 years and children aged 2-14 years. The study was carried out in urban and rural areas of Kyzyl-Orda region in 2003 before (March) and after (December) the campaign. Blood samples were collected in order to measure hemoglobin and serum ferritin. In March 80 women and 57 children in the urban area, and 41 women and 41 children in the rural area, participated in the IDA testing. The corresponding participants in December numbered 62, 52, 52, and 57, respectively. The impacts of the communications and information received by participants during the campaign was surveyed with a questionnaire for 195 women in March and 198 women in December including some who participated in the IDA testing.


In March, the prevalence of anemia was 52.0% among 121 women and 58.1% among 98 children, and those with low iron reserve were 63.6%, 49.1% and IDA 40.5%, 11.0%, respectively. In December, the prevalence of anemia had significantly decreased among rural women (from 65.9% to 48.0%, p < 0.05) and among urban children (from 63.1% to 11.5%, p < 0.001). The prevalence of iron deficiency was significantly reduced among the children (from 51.1% to 24.8%, p < 0.001). IDA prevalence was meaningfully decreased among women in urban and combined areas (from 37.5% to 15.0% and 40.5 to 14.8%, respectively, p < 0.001) and among urban children (from 7.1% to 2.1%, p < 0.05). The surveys found that most women knew about IDA and its prevention and that the numbers were similar both in March and in December. The knowledge of the anti-anemic effect of wheat fortified flour improved significantly over the period of the campaign among women both in urban (from 48.5% to 80.9%, p < 0.001) and rural (from 69.8% to 88.6%, p < 0.001) areas.


The study demonstrated that the communication campaign before implementation of WFF program was effectively carried out, giving a biological impact on hematological indices.