Govt evolves programme to tackle anaemia

To tackle the problem of anaemia, government will launch a programme under which the supplements will be provided to nearly 12 crore adolescents.

Updated: Dec 23, 2011, 16:52 PM IST

New Delhi: To deal with the problem of
anaemia, government will soon launch a weekly iron and folic
supplementation (WIFS) programme under which the supplements
will be provided to nearly 12 crore adolescents.

As part of its nation-wide programme, the Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare has suggested the states that a fixed
day in a week, preferably Monday, be earmarked as the day when
iron and folic acid tablets are provided to adolescents.

Funding for the scheme to states would be provided under
the National Rural Health Mission and states are advised to
project their fund requirements in Programme Implementation
Plans for 2012-13, so that the scheme can be rolled out in the
forthcoming financial year, said a Health Ministry release.

The WIFS programme includes administration of supervised
weekly iron-folic acid supplements of 100mg elemental iron and
500ug Folic acid, screening of target groups for
moderate/severe anaemia and referring these cases to an
appropriate health facility, information and counselling for
improving dietary intake and for taking actions for prevention
of intestinal worm infestation.

The ministry has also started capacity building of service
providers (Medical Officers, Sabla coordinators, Anganwadi
Worker (AWW) Staff Nurses, School teachers) of stakeholder
ministries like the Ministry of Women and Child Development,
Ministry of Human Resource Development, through a two-day
workshop with technical support from UNICEF and WHO.

India has high prevalence of adolescent anaemia, as of the
12.2 crore adolescents in India (as per Census 2011) in age
group of 15-19 years, about 5.7 crores are girls, of which 3.2
crore are anaemic. There are 6.5 crores boys in this age of
which about 2 crores are anaemic.

Anaemia occurs primarily due to iron deficiency and is the
most widespread nutritional deficiency disorder in the
country. It is a result of under-nutrition and poor dietary
intake of iron and is a nationwide problem, not only among
pregnant women, infants and young children but also among
adolescents.

Anaemia in adolescents results in poor physical growth,
reduced school performance, diminished concentration in daily
tasks thus impacting work capacity and work output resulting
in diminished earning capacity.

In adolescent girls, it also enhances the risk of preterm
delivery and having babies with low birth weight. These babies
are more likely to be ill and not reach the age of one year.
Anaemia in adolescent girls also increases their risk of
maternal deaths. Above 1/3rd of all maternal deaths take place
in young women in the age group of 15-24 years. Neonatal
mortality is also hugely influenced by maternal health being
as high as 54 per 1000 amongst those aged 15-19 years, a
Health Ministry statement said.

PTI