Anemia affects half a billion women of reproductive age worldwide, impairing the health and well-being of women and increasing the risk of poor maternal and infant health outcomes.
An indicator of poor nutrition, anemia is a condition in which the number and size of red blood cells is so low, it impairs the ability of the blood to transport oxygen around the body. The result is an overall decline in health, including loss of energy and reduced physical capacity. In particular, maternal anemia is associated with illness and death of both the mother and baby, including increased risk of miscarriages, stillbirths, premature birth and low birth weight. Failure to reduce anemia worldwide consigns millions of women to poor health, generations of children to impaired development and learning, and communities and nations to diminished economic productivity and development.
While the prevalence of anemia has dropped, progress has been slow and uneven. As such, in 2012, the World Health Assembly endorsed a global target to reduce the rate of anemia in women of reproductive age by 50% by 2025.