Dr Ravi Kant Gupta, director, National Health Mission, Haryana, inaugurated the micro nutrient supplementation programme in Panchkula on Thursday.
Dr VK Bansal, civil surgeon, district programme officers and paramedical staff were present during the inauguration.
The programme is launched in two Haryana districts i.e. Panchkula and Ambala.
In rest of the districts the programme will be launched in coming two-three weeks.
Dr Gupta said, "Anemia and vitamin A deficiency are major concerns for children below five years. As per the recent survey conducted in four districts of Haryana by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, it was found that more than 70% of the children below five years, are anaemic."
He added that, "Iron deficiency adversely affects infants, pre-school and schoolchildren by affecting the body's immune response, cognitive performance, behavior and physical growth."
As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3 data, the percentage of children aged 12-35 months, who received a vitamin A dosage in last 6 months is only 13 %. Vitamin A deficiency does its worst damage during childhood and is a major contributor to childhood mortality and illness. The most commonly known effect of vitamin A deficiency is blindness.
Even before blindness occurs, vitamin A deficient children are at increased risk of dying from diseases such as measles, diarrhoea, and malaria. Also, worm infections contribute to anaemia and vitamin A deficiency.
"As per the NFHS-3 data, only 55% of household in Haryana were using adequately iodised salt. Iodine is essential for the physical and mental development of children,"said Dr Gupta.
He added that micronutrient supplementation programme (MSP) would provide a package of services to children below five years through routine immunisation sessions, every year in February and August.The services included in the programme are vitamin A supplementation, de-worming and salt testing for iodine levels.