Female students to get weekly iron, folic acid boost

A total of 151,782 female students from Grade 7 to 10 and currently enrolled in all public schools in Western Visayas will benefit from the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid supplementation (WIFA).

The Departments of Health (DOH) and of Education (DepEd) in Western Visayas on Tuesday launched the WIFA at Iloilo National High School in this city to begin the distribution of iron and folic acid supplements to adolescent female students in the region.

DOH-6 Assistant Regional Director Ma. Paz Corrales pointed out that the DOH and DepEd partnered to implement the WIFA mainly to address the iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and folic acid deficiency among adolescent females in the region.

“It is our hope that with such supplementation of iron and folic acid, it will improve school performance and even reduce absenteeism,” she said.

Corrales said that adolescent females increased their requirement for iron by estimated 70 percent because of their menstruation and as a consequence, anemia develops which affects their school performance and reproductive performance.

She said that these adolescent females are in need of protein, iron and other micronutrients to support their growth and meet the body’s demand.

Melgazar Barboza, regional nutritionist-dietitian of DepEd 6 said that each female adolescent shall be administered with one tablet of 60 mg elemental iron with 400 ug folic every Monday for a period of 24 weeks in a school year.

Barboza said that the iron deficiency anemia prevention can help improve a child’s performance in school and reduce absenteeism due to ill health, and in the long-term, empower the child.

Folic acid or folate, on the other hand, helps the body make healthy new cells, helps form red blood cells and helps produce DNA, the building block of the human body, which carries genetic information, thus, it prevents certain neural tube defects, she added.

Aside from grade 7 to 10 female students enrolled in public schools in the region, adolescent females enrolled in DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) will also benefit from the WIFA program.

The launching of WIFA gathered around 70 Grade 7 female students of Iloilo National High School and these students were given iron and folic acid supplements.

According to Grade 7 student Kaye Alia Jalandoni, she always suffer from lack of energy at school and dizziness due to their quizzes and activities at school.

She expressed thanks to the DOH and DepEd for the iron and folic supplement given to her as it will provide help to her body to be energized so she could perform well at school.

Another grade 7 student Zyril Ann Macalalag also hoped that the supplement will help her have an active mind and a healthy and strong body. [By Cindy B. Ferrer, PNA]

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