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Anemia Awareness and Early Detection Drive Helps Thousands of Women in India

Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or the hemoglobin concentration within the cells is lower than normal. Hemoglobin is needed to carry oxygen through the body. But sometimes a person has too few or abnormal red blood cells, or not enough hemoglobin. This decreases the capacity of their blood to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. 

Being anemic results in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath and more. The most common causes of anemia include nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron deficiency. Apart from this, deficiencies in folate, vitamins B12 and A are also causes of anemia. 

Anemia among adolescents 

Adolescence is considered to be the age of opportunity and if children flourish during this time, so do our communities. But adolescence is also a nutritionally vulnerable time when rapid physical growth increases nutrient demands. 

Dietary behaviors established in adolescence may contribute to nutrition-related problems that have consequences on long-term health. Some of these behaviors include the choice of food consumed, and nutrition intake, among others. 

According to reports, in India, the prevalence of anemia among children aged 6-59 months is 67%, adolescent girls aged 15-19 years is 59% and adolescent boys aged 15-19 years is 31%. India is home to 253 million adolescents ( between 10 to 19 years) of which 73% live in rural areas. This is a major public health problem. 

Anemia among adolescents adversely affects growth, resistance to infections, cognitive development and work productivity. Despite multiple initiatives to address it among various vulnerable groups, it continues to prevail. 

One way to tackle this is early diagnosis and care. Early diagnosis of anemia is important to prevent aggravation of the condition, slow the progress of the disease, and improve the quality of life of the patient. Apart from this, better nutritional practices – consuming iron and vitamin-rich food, can also help to prevent or tackle anemia.

 

Early detection and prevention 

Cadila Pharmaceuticals, one of the oldest and largest privately-held pharma companies in the country, organized an anemia awareness and detection drive in three villages of the Ahmedabad district. It was aimed at creating awareness about anemia and detecting anemia cases. The drive was organized in Bhat, Kasindra, and Mota Chhapra villages of Ahmedabad between November 21 to 23. 

The campaign was organized in association with the School of Nursing of Sheth VS Hospital, the primary health center of Kasindra, and Indrashil Kaka-Ba and Kala Budh Public Charitable Trust, the CSR arm of Cadila Pharmaceuticals. More than 100  nursing students of the School of Nursing, the staff of Kasindra primary health center, besides Asha workers and Anganwadi workers of respective villages visited all households in the villages and educated community women on anemia. 

“Anemia is a serious global public health problem that particularly affects young children and pregnant women. It is also a widespread health challenge in India. Anemia is caused due to nutritional deficiencies, especially iron deficiency, and can be treated by dietary changes and supplements. The need is greater awareness and this is what our campaign focuses on. This is to intensify our ongoing anemia eradication program in 21 villages being developed as model villages in line with the Sustainable development goals framework,” said Dr. Bharat Champaneria, Trustee at Indrashil Kaka-Ba and Kala Budh Public Charitable Trust. 

Benefitting thousands 

The campaign covers women in more than 3,000 households and 1,000 girl students in six schools in the three villages. Women and girls were screened for anemia testing after the completion of the awareness drive and survey. Those found to be anemic were provided with iron and folic acid tablets. 

They were also educated about the importance of a healthy diet, and how they can get the requisite nutrition from food items available in most households. This is the first phase of the anemia awareness and detection campaign. It will soon be carried out in more villages of Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, and Tamil Nadu which Cadila Pharmaceuticals has adopted for developing as model villages.

Author

Roshini Muthukumar

Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.