Reducing anemia prevalence in Afghanistan: Socioeconomic correlates and the particular role of agricultural assets
The authors in this article (PDF) in PLoSONE examine the socio-economic correlates of anemia in women and, potential sources of iron in household diets in Afghanistan. It delves into the agriculture-nutrition linkages and tries to understand these in the context of Afghanistan and related to iron-deficiency anemia. The authors found that ownership of agricultural assets (particularly livestock) and their use in food production has a role in alleviating anemia, especially when local markets are inadequate. Sheep ownership was found to have a protective effect in reducing anemia, after controlling for wealth and other co-variants. The data suggest that sheep ownership has a positive impact on the likelihood that women consume mutton and that this could explain the lower levels of anemia in households that were shepherding. The authors suggest that more researchers, with purposive data collection, to further explore the linkages and appropriate interventions. Up to now a lot of donor support in Afghanistan has been directed to dairy and poultry programmes; the authors suggest that a focus on red meat might be needed.