Three out of four children in Jammu and Kashmir are anaemic. This revelation made by the National Family Health Survey–5 data must be taken very seriously not only at government level but at non-government level as well. Taking it seriously is important for the physical and mental development of the children. If ignored the problem can have ill effects on the overall development of the children. Not only the children are anaemic, even the woman are suffering from the problem. Despite progress in the medical field and socio-economic status of the people, the number of children and women having anaemia rather than decreasing is drastically increasing. This is not a positive sign in health sector.
Immediate steps are needed to help women and children to come out of the anaemic condition and live a healthy life. There can be a number of reasons for the increase in the number of anaemic women and children. One of them can be lack of awareness about the problem of anaemia. The other can be lack of healthy lifestyle measures for increasing iron levels in the body and eating foods rich in iron, protein and vitamins.
There is a need to create awareness for this purpose at large scale. The people should be made aware as to how anaemia is affecting the children and women on large scale, and how this scenario can be averted. It is not that difficult. Once the awareness is created and corrective measures taken, the things will move in right direction. The awareness must start at the family level and extend to concerned government department level also. At government level the Department of Health and Medical Education says it has launched the test, treat, talk anaemia campaign across Jammu and Kashmir. Accordingly, a mechanism has been developed to carry out Haemoglobin tests on children in schools and anganwadi centres.
The women will be tested same way in the anganwadi centre catchments. Iron and folic acid supplementation would be provided to the anaemic children and women. These are good steps. But there is need to take such steps on large scale and try to cover the affected population extensively. There is no scope for non-seriousness and doing things on a very limited scale; for doing just for the sake of doing it. The problem needs to be tackled with total seriousness at the family level, the government level, besides other required levels.