Though around 1,000 students have complained of side effects after consuming iron tablets under the Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) campaign launched by Haryana,the health department on Wednesday said there was no need to press the panic button.
According to the government,out of the 1,000 children,only 100 were diagnosed with severe side effects,like diarrhoea and vomiting,and had to be hospitalised. The rest only claimed of stomach ache and mild nausea.
In a statement on Wednesday,the department appealed to the people to cooperate with the campaign. Dr Rakesh Gupta,Mission Director of Haryana National Rural Health Mission,said: People involved in WIFS campaign have been asked not to administer the tablets to children who are on fast or observing roza. The tablets should be given only after 15 to 20 minutes of taking a meal with a glass of water. It should not be chewed as the protective coating gets damaged and causes adverse effects on the body. These should never be taken with milk or any other dairy product.
He added that the children who have complained of side effects will be given a subnormal dose of 60 mg for the next four weeks.
Explaining the need of giving the tablets to children,Gupta added: The tablets cure the iron deficiency among children of adolescent age. Iron being an important element of the body,its deficiency among children leads to anaemia. I urge the people not to panic over these mild side effects,as this campaign has been re-launched only after discussions by experts,including doctors at Chandigarh PGI. It has been approved by WHO and UNICEF.
Till Wednesday,16 lakh children have been administered Iron Folic Acid Supplementation in schools in 21 districts of Haryana.