THE PREVALENCE of anaemia among children aged 6-59 months was found to be highest among children in Chandigarh compared to other northern states, revealed the 2015-16 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) report of the country released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The December 2017 report also states that anaemia among women in City Beautiful was found to be pretty high in Chandigarh at 76 per cent.
Anaemia is a condition, which is marked by low levels of haemoglobin in the blood. Iron deficiency is said to be responsible for anaemia globally. The report puts the prevalence of anaemia among children aged 6-59 months at 73 per cent against the national prevalence of 58.4 per cent for this category. The report states that Delhi had 59.7 per cent, while Haryana had 71.7 per cent prevalence. Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and other states recorded a lower level of prevalence than Chandigarh.
Not only children, the NFHS report states that the prevalence of anaemia among women was also very high “in the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli (80 per cent), Chandigarh (76 per cent) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (66 per cent)”. It adds, “Several union territories have even higher prevalence of anaemia in children aged 6-59 months (Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Chandigarh).”
UT health officials said that even though the exact cause was not yet known as no study has been conducted so far, primarily, the causes are Improper diet, childhood illness such as malnutrition, diarrhoea, worm infestations and iron supplementation not done by mother as prescribed to them.
Poor nutritional intake by women is the main cause of iron deficiency among women leading to anaemia, says Rashmi Bagga, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. For this survey, according to the report, the number of households interviewed in the city was 751 in 2015-16 and the response rate was 91 per cent. Among other findings, the report stated that 99.6 per cent households were found with electricity, 99.5 with improved source of drinking water, 99.7 per cent with toilet facility and 1.6 per cent using solid fuel for cooking.
About the proportion of children, aged 6-23 months who receive a minimum acceptable diet, the report said it was found to be highest in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (31 per cent each) and the lowest in Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (3 per cent or less).