BeyondHeadlines News Desk
RANCHI, Jharkhand : A massive programme to reduce anaemia among adolescent girls and boys was launched by the Governor Dr. Syed Ahmed here today. This “Weekly Iron & Folic Acid Supplementation” (WIFS) programme targets 51 lakh girls and boys in schools (class 6 to 12) as well as out-of-school village girls aged 10-19 years. Over 17,000 upper primary, secondary and senior secondary schools and about 40,000 villages and tolas will be covered by the programme.
It is significant that for the very first time, school boys will be covered by this programme besides adolescent girls. The frontline workers like teachers, anganwadi sevikas, ASHAs and ANMs who implement the programme will also be given the IFA tablet. The tablet under the WIFS programme will be provided weekly and free of cost in schools and anganwadi centres. It is blue in colour unlike the traditional red coloured IFA tablet.
In addition to the iron tablets, Albendazole tablet for de-worming will also be provided twice a year to all boys and girls under the programme.
The slogan of the campaign is “Solid Bano Jharkhand”. The campaign will be launched by giving IFA tablets to a few adolescent girls both in and out-of-school. This will be followed by state-wide roll out of the IEC campaign around the programme.
Jharkhand has the highest rate of anaemia among women of 15-49 years (70%). and one of the highest rate of anaemia among adolescent girls of 15-19 years (67%) in the country as per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3, 2005-06). Rate of anaemia among adolescent boys of 15-19 years is 41% according to the same survey.
Anaemia in adolescents is characterized by a haemoglobin level of less than 12 in the blood. Haemoglobin is necessary for transporting oxygen from the lungs to other tissues and organs of the body. High rates of anemia can be attributed to low iron content in a girl’s diet from early childhood to adulthood.
Anaemia among adolescent girls and women is one of the major reasons for death of children and mothers during pregnancy and child birth and also for undernutrition among children. The infant mortality rate (IMR) as well as the maternal mortality rate (MMR) can be reduced if anemia among women and girls are reduced. Anaemia also leads to poor cognitive development and lower intelligence quotient (IQ) among adolescents, leading to poor learning outcome and high drop-out rates. It also compromises the immunity, causing diseases among adolescents.
Iron supplementation along with iron rich diet (such as meat, organ meat, fish, poultry, green leafy vegetables, chana dal, jaggery and eggs) can help end this inter-generational cycle of anemia.
The programme was launched in the Raj Bhawan at 10:30 a.m. today, Wednesday, 27 February, 2013. The Advisor to the Governor, Shri K. Vijay Kumar, Principal Secretaries Shri Vidyasagar (Health & Family Welfare), Ms. Mridula Sinha (Social Welfare, Women & Child Development), Shri D.K. Tiwari (Human Resource Development), Shri L. Khiangte (Welfare) and NRHM MD Shri Aboobacker Siddique were present among others.