PETALING JAYA: Pregnant women in Malaysia face a higher risk of anaemia, according to a study.
The Nils Milman’s 2015 research says the rate of anaemia in pregnant women in Malaysia is between 42.5% and 47.5%, and the consequent rate of iron deficiency is reported to be as high as 50% to 65.3%.
Anaemia is a condition characterised by a lack of healthy red blood cells.
Iron deficiency anaemia is caused by lack of iron, often because of blood loss or pregnancy, according to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) website.
Symptoms can include tiredness and lack of energy, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and pale skin.
The NHS says it’s treated by eating iron-rich foods or with iron tablets (prescribed by a doctor).
“A large proportion of Malaysian women become aware of their haemoglobin status only when they get pregnant,” according to Dr Nadzratulaiman Wan Nordin, a senior lecturer and clinical specialist at UiTM’s Faculty of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Dr Nadzratulaiman said only 49% of pregnant women in Malaysia take daily vitamins and/or mineral supplements.
She said it is essential to increase awareness on anaemia and its consequences, as well as advocate preventive measures.
She added that the private sector has a crucial role in fighting anaemia by driving awareness among healthcare professionals and the public.
Anaemia and iron deficiency are health issues that are not unique to Malaysia. In fact, they are seen as a global problem.
Early this year, global healthcare and pharmaceutical company Merck continued its anaemia awareness campaign through the annual RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) World Congress 2018 held in Singapore.
At the RCOG World Congress 2018, one of the highlights was an important study in The Lancet Global Health stating that severe anaemia can double the risk of death during or shortly after pregnancy.
This research utilised information from over 300,000 women across 29 countries by the WHO (World Health Organisation).