Anaemia is a lack of oxygen-carrying red blood cells or haemoglobin, which can cause short- and long-term health consequences.


Our researchers are working to reduce anaemia, and to improve the health of people around the world, particularly women and children.

Anaemia is a common condition both in Australia and around the world, affecting over 1.5 billion people worldwide. It is particularly prevalent in certain population groups: in Australia around 12 per cent of women, eight per cent of pre-school-aged children, and 20 per cent of people over 85 years are anaemic.

Worldwide, anaemia affects 42 per cent of children less than 5 years of age and 40 per cent of pregnant women. Iron deficiency is a leading cause of anaemia, but it can also be caused by other serious health conditions.

Our anaemia research

WEHI’s anaemia research spans from laboratory studies to international clinical trials. WEHI is the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Anaemia Detection and Control, with our researchers advising the WHO on the best approaches to diagnose and treat anaemia.

Our anaemia research includes:

  • studies to understand the best approaches to prevent iron deficiency anaemia, particularly in mothers and children in low income countries
  • investigating the molecules that control red blood cell production and iron levels in the body
  • studying diseases such as malaria that are a significant cause of anaemia, and are most serious in anaemic people.


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