100 girls sick after taking iron tablets
A day after the Haryana health department re-launched the Weekly Iron Folic Acid Scheme, more than 100 government school students across Gurgaon district have taken ill with complaints of gastritis, vomiting, giddiness and dehydration after consuming the pills.
A total 31 children from government schools at Sikanderpur, Bhondsi and Ghamroj villages have been admitted at the Gurgaon civil hospital while 79 were taken to the Sohna civil hospital.
According to official records, girl students from Class 6 to 12 started pouring in at the Gurgaon civil hospital from Monday afternoon.
“There were 31 admissions in total but none of the cases was serious. We are giving medicines to the patients and sending them home,” said Dr Pushpa Bhishnoi, civil surgeon, Gurgaon district.
Only those girls suffering from dehydration who needed a saline drip were admitted, said the on-duty doctor at the emergency ward of the hospital.
On Monday, 11 students from the Sikanderpur government school had reported to the hospital with ‘expected side-effects’ after consuming the supplements.
Three students each from the schools at Bhondsi and Ghamroj were also admitted at the hospital as they were suffering from dehydration.
Officials of the Gurgaon health department said they didn’t expect such a high number of students falling sick. Calling it “psychological”, they attributed the spurt in the number of cases to panic and lack of awareness.
“These side-effects are psychological. It is a known fact that anyone who takes folic acid tablets for the first time is bound to show symptoms of simple gastritis. We are putting the children on drips just to pacify them and their parents psychologically. As soon as they are given saline, they say the pain has gone,” said Dr Bhishnoi.
Under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the Haryana health department had re-launched the Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplement Programme on July 22 to control the increasing number of anaemia cases in young girls in the state.
Nearly 16 lakh students of government and government-aided schools across the state are aimed to be covered under the scheme.
In Gurgaon, a total of 62,853 school children, from Class 6 to 12, were supposed to be given the pill but only 51,773 children were administered the dose.
Earlier, the programme was shelved because of the department’s shoddy planning that led to severe side-effects among girls in Fatehabad.
Consuming the iron folic acid tablets on empty stomach and not drinking enough water later may lead to side-effects such as giddiness and stomach pain, said a doctor.