India: ‘14.67 crore women are suffering from anaemia’

In written reply in Lok Sabha, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, the minister of state in the ministry of health and family welfare said, As per Global nutrition report 2017, India has the largest number of women affected by anaemia, followed by China, Pakistan, Nigeria and Indonesia. In India, 14.67 crore women are suffering from anaemia.The global nutrition report covers data of 140 countries evaluated against health targets decided by World Health Assembly. Globally, 61.4 crore women aged 15-49 years are affected by anaemia

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  • As per the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) the global prevalence of anaemia 2011, 50% cases of anaemia are attributed to iron deficiency. Other causes of anaemia include other micronutrient deficiencies (e.g. folate, riboflavin, vitamins A and B12), acute and chronic infections (e.g. malaria, cancer, tuberculosis and HIV), and inherited or acquired disorders that affect haemoglobin synthesis (e.g. haemoglobinopathies).
  • According to NFHS data, overall prevalence of anaemia among women and adolescent girls has not increased in country from 2005-06(NFHS-3) to 2015-16(NFHS-4). 
  • However, following states have shown increase in prevalence of anaemia among non-pregnant women (aged 15-49 years) from 2005-06(NFHS-3) to 2015-16(NFHS-4) – Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh has shown increase in cases of anaemia among pregnant women from 2005-06(NFHS-3) to 2015-16(NFHS-4). 
  • Following states has shown increase in prevalence of anaemia among adolescent girls from 2005-06(NFHS-3) to 2015-16(NFHS-4) – Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. 

Dr Niranjan Chavan, Professor, Gynaecology Department at LTMG (Sion) Hospital said, “Every year, 12,000 t0 14,000 deliveries take place at our tertiary centre. In this about 40% cases are transferred/ referred cases from outside Mumbai and including the jurisdiction of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from the peripheral hospitals and so on. Antenatally we get 1oo-150 patients  daily. Out of 100, 20-25 patients suffer from anaemia. The reason is low nutrition and low iron.”

He added, “We counsel during the antenatal visit. Apart from carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins, Women should consume leafy vegetables, sprouts, chana, jaggery, iron-rich food, iron tablets (160-180 Milligrams per day). Hemoglobin as per WHO should be more than 11 grams. In anaemia patient is more susceptible to infections. So, a good hygiene should be maintained. Deworming and preventive medicines should be given. Awareness should be created through radio, TV, pamphlets, jingles and we also send SMS regarding the same.”

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has implemented National Iron Plus Initiative to prevent anaemia among women, children and adolescents. The program details out interventions for all life stages universally for given age group population in the country:

  • Preschoolers (6m-59 months) : Bi-weekly IFA syrup
  •  School aged children (5 – 10 years) : Pink coloured Weekly IFA tablet (WIFS Junior)
  • Adolescents (11 – 19 years) : Blue coloured weekly IFA tablet (WIFS)
  • Women in Reproductive ages (20 – 49 years) : Red coloured weekly IFA tablet
  • Pregnant and lactating women: 1 Tab daily for 180 days starting after 1st Trimester, at 14-16 weeks of gestation
  • To be repeated for 180 days post-partum