As many as 58.5% of children between the ages of 6 months and 59 months, and 53.1% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 years, are anaemic in the country, the government told Lok Sabha last week.
As per the details of anaemic women and children in urban and rural India given by the government, 29.8% of children in rural India suffer from moderate anaemia, and 40.3% of women in the villages are mildly anaemic. The data, based on the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV (2015-16), divide the incidence of anaemia into ‘Mild’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Severe’ kinds for both rural and urban India.
Answering a question by Chandigarh BJP MP Kirron Kher, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan said that the union government had, in 2018, launched the “Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Strategy under POSHAN Abhiyaan with the aim to reduce anaemia prevalence by three percentage points every year till 2022”.
AMB, the Minister said, “is a 6x6x6 strategy that is targeting six age groups, with six interventions and six institutional mechanisms”. The six age groups include pre-school children (6-59 months), children (5-9 years), adolescent girls (10-19 years), adolescent boys (10-19 years), women of reproductive age group (15-49), and pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Among the six interventions are prophylactic iron folic acid supplementation, periodic deworming, and addressing non-nutritional causes of anaemia in endemic pockets, with special focus on malaria, haemoglobinopathies and fluorosis, the Minister said. Institutional mechanisms include a National Anaemia Mukt Bharat Unit, and a National Centre of Excellence and Advanced Research on Anaemia Control.