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3 out of every 4 J&K children are anemic

10:18 AM Aug 01, 2023 IST | ZEHRU NISSA
3 out of every 4 j amp k children are anemic
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Srinagar, Aug 1: Even with better socio-economic status compared to many states in India, three out of every four children in Jammu and Kashmir are anemic, putting the holistic physical and mental development of a generation in jeopardy.

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To address the grave issue, the J&K Health and Medical Education Department has launched the Test, Treat, Talk Anemia campaign across the 20 districts.

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The National Family Health Survey – 5 (NFHS-5) data revealed that the prevalence of anemia in children aged between six months and 5 years is 72.7 percent. This means that their hemoglobin levels are less than 11 g/dl or 11 points, as it is generally referred to as. Shockingly, the prevalence of anemia has risen from 54 percent of the under 5 population as measured by NFHS 4, carried out a decade ago. Similarly, the prevalence of anemia among women, pregnant and non-pregnant is to the tune of 50 percent approximately, according to the NFHS 5 data.

According to medical literature, anemia in children can have significant effects on their overall health and wellbeing. It can cause fatigue, weakness, and hinder their growth and development. Cognitive function may be impaired, leading to difficulties in learning and concentration. Children with anemia may have pale skin, be more susceptible to infections, and experience poor appetite and nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, behavioural and emotional changes can occur, including irritability and mood swings. In women, it can have various effects on their health and daily life. Women with anemia may experience weakness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. Additionally, anemia can impact women’s ability to perform physical activities and may result in reduced productivity and quality of life. In severe cases, it can contribute to complications during pregnancy, such as preterm birth or low birth weight.

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Prompt identification, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment of anemia are crucial to mitigate these effects and support the child’s health and development, as well as of the half of the adult population – females.

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In order to achieve timely identification and treatment, the Test, Treat, Talk Anemia campaign is being launched in J&K, the Health and Medical Education Department said. While launching the T3 campaign during the J&K Health Conclave, the department said it has distributed 896 Hemoglobin Meters among the ground staff. The ground staff is constituted by Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram teams who have been assigned the responsibility of visiting Anganwadi Centers and schools and carrying out Hemoglobin tests on children. The staff would also cater to pregnant and non-pregnant women from the Anganwadi Center catchments.

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The H&ME informed that iron and folic acid supplementation would be provided to the anemic children and women and their hemoglobin levels rechecked after completion of treatment. The campaign also entails counselling beneficiaries on healthy lifestyle measures, to increase iron levels in the body and on foods rich in iron, protein and vitamins.

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