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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Over 85% adolescents in Bihar are anaemic; to be given IFA pills weekly

Against this backdrop, the state government on Tuesday launched the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) programme, a Central scheme for school going adolescent girls and boys and for out of school adolescent girls.

patna Updated: Jan 23, 2019 08:51 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
It was estimated that more than 5 crore adolescents (15 to 19 years) were anaemic in the country of which Bihar accounted for about 2.78 crore youth between 10 and 19 years of age who were low on haemoglobin.
It was estimated that more than 5 crore adolescents (15 to 19 years) were anaemic in the country of which Bihar accounted for about 2.78 crore youth between 10 and 19 years of age who were low on haemoglobin.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
         

Over 85% of Bihar’s 2.78 crore adolescent population in the age group of 10-17 years, are anaemic. Of this, 88.1% are girls and 82.7% boys, according to the Clinical Anthropometric and Biochemical (CAB) census-2014.

Against this backdrop, the state government on Tuesday launched the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) programme, a Central scheme for school going adolescent girls and boys and for out of school adolescent girls.

The programme envisages administration of supervised weekly iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation and biannual deworming tablets to 13 crore (approximately) rural and urban adolescents through government and government-aided schools and anganwadi kendra to combat anaemia, caused by iron deficiency.

It was estimated that more than 5 crore adolescents (15 to 19 years) were anaemic in the country of which Bihar accounted for about 2.78 crore youth between 10 and 19 years of age who were low on haemoglobin.

Speaking on the occasion, social welfare and education minister, Bihar, Krishna Nandan Verma, cautioned against the misconception that such medicines, provided free of cost by the government, were not of good quality.

Verma also advised officials to ensure that beneficiaries getting the tablets should take them in front of providers. Assuring that his departments would provide all support to the health department in this initiative, he said that such programmes were needed more in rural areas so that the poor and marginalised communities could benefit out of it.

Earlier, Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey launched the WIFS programme by administering IFA tablet to Fauziya Khanam, a class 9 student of Bankipur Girls’ High School.

Pledging his commitment to make the state anaemia-free, Pandey said that under the programme, every Wednesday, school going adolescent boys and girls between 10 and 19 years of age would be given one tablet of iron folic acid tablet with the help of Asha, Anganwadi workers and teachers. Girls who do not go to school would get the pills at Anganwadi centres.

Pandey also said that the state required 92.54 crore IFA Blue tablets annually of which 30 crore had been procured and distributed in the first phase.

Worms in the body also cause shortage of blood (haemoglobin) in adolescents, said Pandey. Therefore, under this programme, adolescents would be given Albendazole, for deworming, twice a year.

To reach out to more and more adolescents, he said that 90,000 anganwadi sevikas, 68962 school teachers, 17892 auxilliary nursing midwives and 4470 accredited social health activists had been trained under the programme.

Principal secretary, health, Sanjay Kumar quoted figures from the CAB Census-2014 to drive home the point that officials had to ensure implementation of the WIFS programme. He said the IFA pill would be given to children studying in classes 6 to 12 in government, government-funded and municipal schools for 52 weeks in a year.

State program officer for teen health, Dr YN Pathak said the programme would commence in the state from Wednesday. He said that lack of iron in adolescents resulted in inability to do their work, lack of concentration in studies, lack of appetite, retarded growth, reduction in immunity and complications during childbirth among teenagers.

Patna civil surgeon Dr Pramod Kumar Jha, head of Care India-Bihar Dr Hemant Shah and UNICEF state representatives were present on the occasion along with officials of health and education departments.

(TEXT FOR INFOGRAPHICS)

Anaemia scenario in Bihar:

Estimated adolescent Population (10-19yrs.): 2.78 crore

88.1% of girls, 82.7% of boys and 85.3 % total adolescent are anaemic in the age group 10-17 years (source:CAB-2014)

Estimated anemic adolescents in the state: 2.38 crore

Objective of WIFS

To improve iron stores in the adolescent population (10-19 years) and thereby address nutritional anemia

Target Group

Adolescent girls and boys in govt /govt-aided/municipal schools, studying in classes 6 to 12

53 lakhs non-school going adolescent girls (based on Census 2011)

Interventions

100mg elemental iron and 500µg folic acid for 52 weeks in a year, every Wednesday

Screening of target groups for moderate/severe anaemia and referring these cases to an appropriate health facility

Biannual de-worming (Albendazole 400mg), six months apart

Information and counselling for improving dietary intake and for taking actions for prevention of intestinal worm infestation

Supervised administration by teachers and Anganwadi workers

Total IFA Blue Tablet Requirement

Total Requirement: 92,54,05,745 (including 10% buffer)

(In first phase 30 crore IFA tablet have been procured and distributed)

Manpower involved

Approximately 90,000 anganwadi sevikas; 68,962 school teachers; 17,892 auxilliary nursing midwives and 4,470 ASHA facilitators have been trained

Emergency response teams have been formed in all 38 districts

First Published: Jan 23, 2019 08:51 IST