Girls’ Iron-Folate Tablet Supplementation (GIFTS)
The GIFTS programme, was a collaborative initiative by GHS, Ghana Education Service (GES), UNICEF and other key partners and focuses on empowering menstruating adolescents and women with information to take control of their health and lives.
The objectives of the GIFTS, is to reduce anaemia levels among adolescent girls in the implementing regions, provide Iron Folic Acid (IFA) supplements to adolescent girls 10-19 years for both in-school and out -of -school, and build synergy among stakeholders for the implementation of GIFTS and its contribution to sustainable social mobilization impact.
The Iron Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation for menstruating women was adopted as one of several actions going on to improve maternal nutrition, reduce the high rates of anaemia in adolescents and women of childbearing age and contribute to reduction in maternal mortality.
*Why focus on such groups?*
These ages were regarded as vulnerable groups due to factors such as menstruation, rapid growth and body changes, as well as child birth, saying, poor nutrition resulting in deficiencies in the essential vitamins and illnesses including parasitic infections, were some of the causes of anaemia in girls.
Anaemia resulted from poor nutrition and other illnesses, and led to poor academic performance, high school dropout, reduced physical fitness and work productivity, low birth weight in babies, as well as morbidity and mortality of mother and baby.
Anemia during adolescence affects growth and development of girls increasing their vulnerability to dropping out-of-school. Hence investing in preventing anemia during adolescence is critical for their survival, growth and development.
I am humbly calling on all stakeholders to join in the efforts being made to sensitise communities on anaemia, to help eradicate it among menstruating girls and women in their reproductive ages. Parents are advised to ensure good nutrition among their teenage girls.
By: Biney Daniel Yaw
Ghana Nurse-Midwife Trainees’ Association (GNMTA)- National President
DEQ Change Foundation Associate