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Campaign to combat anaemia among teenagers launched

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New Delhi: Health Minister JP Nadda, along with Bollywood actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra, launched the nationwide Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplement (WISF) awareness campaign here.

Through this initiative, launched on Wednesday, atleast 11.2 crore adolescents across the country would be given iron and folic acid supplements to reduce nutritional anaemia.

Nadda said that a nationwide campaign is the need of the hour as “accessibility is not the problem, awareness is”.

“We have to make India aware about the issue, resources are not a problem. It is a step to make young India healthy India,” he said.

The minister also said: “People start comparing countries and say that India is not up to the mark but that is wrong. We should compare India to equivalent countries. India is a country that cannot be compared as it has its own strengths and weaknesses.”

Priyanka Chopra also lent her voice to a video clip made for taking the message about the benefits of the tablet forward. The actress said that she feels fortunate to be a part of a campaign for the next generation.

The programme will reach adolescents through schools and anganwadi centres on a fixed day of the week. Biannual de-worming for control of worm infestation, information and counselling to improve their dietary intake and screening for moderate and severe anaemia will also be undertaken in the programme.

Realising that pills tend to repel children, the health ministry is also mulling various options of providing food supplements in place of tablets.

As the campaign focusses on young India, the event saw a teenager Kajal, who is associated with an NGO working towards the same goal, list out her favourite dishes and she also narrated how she lost her younger sister due to the lack of care at the right time.

Talking about future plans, Nadda said: “We are taking help of digital India as well. Soon, messages in regional languages will come on mobile phones asking about the medicines.”

UNICEF representative to India Louis-Georges Arsenault also attended the programme. (IANS), (image courtesy: orientpublication.files.wordpress.com)

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How The Burden of Anaemia Weighs Heavy On Women In India

Through efforts, India can reduce the effects of anaemia in women and children.

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Anaemia
Through preventative measures in a school-based programme, women and families can learn more about iron deficiency and its consequences on their health and their future children.

Today, over 51% of Indian women between the ages of fifteen to forty-nine are anaemic, according to the Global Nutrition Report in 2017. Anaemia is a common, yet neglected health issue that affects children, adolescent girls, and women in India and across the globe. In fact, over 55% of Indian women experience anaemia and it is often considered as a direct or indirect cause of maternal deaths. As a result, the government is taking preventative measures to make the country anaemia-free.

Government’s efforts to fight Anemia

Since 1975, the Indian government has purposed a goal towards fighting anaemia by providing iron-folic acid supplies to pregnant women in addition to prenatal blood tests. However, in spite of such efforts, the distribution, maintenance, and free supply are still limited due to the lack of knowledge. So, how are women surviving the efforts of this common iron deficiency?

In the state of Rajasthan, the maternal mortality rate is 445 to 100,000 births. A woman named Raj who was 21 years old and pregnant with her third child, stated her lack of knowledge about her nutrient deficiency. In fact, out of the 30 tablets of folic acid she had received, she had only taken one. When asked why she described the discomfort and nausea she felt after taking it.

Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to properly transport oxygen to the body’s tissues.

Ayurvedic medicine for Anaemia

Recent reports claim that traditional medicines have proven to increase the risk of Hypophosphatemia, a condition caused by low levels of phosphate. In fact, the Injectafer infusion side effects may result in individuals with hypophosphatemia may exercise severe swelling and clammy skin. Although other research suggests that women should boost their daily consumption of yogurt and ghee, they must also include pure turmeric to help balance the body’s dosha, according to Ayurvedic medicine.

Today’s Women of India

Through the voices of women in Rajasthan, Pradesh, and rural India, the next step is to redefine the current rate of anaemic patients and boost prevention in young girls before they reach pregnancy. Through preventative measures in a school-based programme, women and families can learn more about iron deficiency and its consequences on their health and their future children.

As such, it can be addressed by raising awareness, interventions, and recognizing the weakness of current strategies in prevention. Through such efforts, India can reduce the effects of anemia in women and children.