Assam: Food supplement for high school girls

Guwahati: Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Thursday said the government was considering providing some food supplement to high school girls before administering them iron and folic acid tablets - a day after some girls fell sick after the exercise.

Wednesday, some girl students in Sonitpur district complained of vomiting, dizziness and stomach-ache after they were administered the tablets in their schools.

Sarma, however, said there was nothing serious about Wednesday`s incident and it might happen if doses were taken empty stomach. "Our preliminary inquiry suggested that most of the girls who fell sick yesterday had the tablets empty stomach. This resulted in sickness. Due to the poverty level, particularly in rural areas, it is difficult to ascertain who comes to the school empty stomach."

He said the government is now planning to upgrade the scheme by adding some food supplement to it.

"We are thinking of upgrading the scheme by giving the girls something to eat before the tablets are given. This will help to continue the scheme, which is very important for the young girls in preventing anaemia."

The girl students of class 9 and 10 are being given iron and folic acid tablets under a National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scheme since 2007. The scheme was started after a survey found that 69 percent of girls in the state are anaemic.

"Iron deficiency among the women is one of the factors for high maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Assam. The scheme to administer iron and folic acid tablets to the young girls in Assam is very important," he said and ruled out any discontinuation of the scheme.

"However, we have asked the department of medicines of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) to carry out an investigation if there is anything wrong with the tablets used yesterday," he added.


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