I am starting this category on my blog because of the importance of Iron in the lives of women.
I am naming it Fe Woman. Fe is the symbol for Iron. Iron is the most common chemical element found on the earth. It universally epitomizes Strength, vitality, tenacity, sharpness of body and mind; and courage. Interestingly, women are expected to epitomize these attributes too. When they do, we call them Iron women.
Iron is so important for human living so much so that it is life. This is because Iron is necessary to produce blood. Blood is life. About 70% of the iron in our bodies is found in our red blood cells. Our red blood cells consist mainly of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a type of protein that carries oxygen from our lungs to our cells and tissues. Once haemoglobin concentration falls, our body’s ability to carry oxygen reduces. This results in tiredness, shortness of breath, reduced capacity for work amongst other things.
Sometimes, that depression, chronic tiredness, lack of focus, lack of energy, inability to give your all may just be as a result of your iron status. For young girls, it could be poor school performance amongst other things. Perhaps you have been punishing that girl child because she is doing badly at school and you attribute it to playfulness or boys. It could be an iron problem. Something so abundant in the earth is what is lacking most in women.
So, you see Iron is important.
Globally, about 2 billion people are have anaemia. The most recent nutrition statistics in Nigeria (NDHS 2018) has shown that 58% of women and girls (15 -49 years) have anaemia. This means that every time you see two women, the probability that both have anaemia is very high. Anaemia results when you have used up your iron stores and depletion continues.
When anaemia happens, damages to the organ can occur. For example, the heart has to work extra hard to make up for the lack of haemoglobin. Also, Anaemia increases the risk of diseases, and illnesses, poorer birth outcomes like preterm births, low birth weight, death of mother and child.
Apart from the numerous challenges women face, anaemia also contributes to their not being able to realize their full potentials. This is sad.
I should mention here that not all cases of Anaemia is due to iron deficiency. Anaemia can be caused by nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin A deficiency, folate deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency. It can also be caused by acute and chronic inflammations, parasitic infections (like malaria, worm infestations), and inherited or acquired disorders that affect synthesis of haemoglobin.
However, note that the issue of Iron deficiency anaemia is global. It affects many women all over the world. It is an old problem yet it is still the most common micronutrient deficiency in the world.
So, imagine if many Nigerian women were given the same opportunities as Nigerian men to succeed, they might not be able to do so because their bodies and minds may not even be operating at full productive capacity.
So, how do we change the status quo? How can we improve the iron status of women and girls? How can we encourage their productivity?
That is why I am bringing Fe Woman to you. I hope to explore ways that women and girls can improve their iron status, improve their productivity and be all they can be.