In a city, where more than 40 per cent of pregnant women suffer from anaemia, its health department has been short of iron folic acid tablets for the past three months.
As per a health officials, the iron folic acid tablets have been out of stock since April.
Last year, as per the data released by the health department, only 37.4 per cent pregnant women consumed 100 or more iron folic acid tablets. Though this year, the department aims to cover at least 90 per cent of the pregnant women, the apparent lackadaisical approach would make the target difficult to achieve.
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Hundreds of anaemic pregnant women undergoing treatment at city’s government hospitals are deprived of iron folic tablets. Anaemia in pregnancy is of great concern, as it is associated with increased maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity.
“Anaemia in pregnancy is associated with adverse consequences for both the mother and the foetus. It can lead to complications during delivery, increases and chances of pre-term births and low birth weight rate babies also increases. All this in turn results in higher perinatal mortality, and higher infant mortality rate,” said senior
doctor associated with Reproductive and Child Health Programme.
She added that few studies have shown that it also increases the risk of NCDs among children when they grow as adults.
When questioned about the shortage of iron-folic tablets, Dr V K Gagneja said, “We have placed tenders
and very soon the tablets will be available in the hospital’s pharmacy. Also, this time we are planning to procure
blue coated iron folic tablets as there was reluctance among women to take red coated iron tablets, because of bitter taste.”
He added, “To ensure that maximum number of pregnant women are given iron tablets, we have appointed a dedicated Reproductive and Child Health officer.
“Her only job will be to ensure that quality treatment is provided to pregnant women and complete immunisation to children. To combat anaemia, she will ensure that all women are given Iron Folic tablets for at least 100 days.”