Haemoglobin in the blood is necessary to carry oxygen to the tissues in the body. Anaemia is the condition in which the number of red blood cells or the concentration of haemoglobin within the blood cells is less than normal, which causes a decreased capacity of blood to carry oxygen in the body.
Globally, anaemia is considered a serious global public health problem that particularly affects young children and pregnant women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of anaemia among women of reproductive age (aged 15−49 years) is calculated as the percentage of women in the said age group with a haemoglobin concentration less than 120 grams per Litre (g/L) or 12 grams per decilitre (g/dL) for non-pregnant and lactating women, and less than 110 g/L or 11 g/dL for pregnant women, adjusted for altitude and smoking.
WHO estimated that the prevalence of anaemia worldwide in 2019 was 39.8% among children aged 6 to 59 months and 36.5% among pregnant women. 29.9% of the women of reproductive age were anaemic in 2019. According to WHO’s dashboard, it is seen that the prevalence of anemia in women of reproductive age in India was 53% in 2019, the fifth-highest globally, after Yemen, Mali, Benin, and Nigeria. In the case of children (6 to 59 months), the prevalence in India was 53.4%.
The Union Health Ministry recently released the key findings of both the phases of the National Family Health Survey that was conducted between 2019 & 2021. This is the fifth edition of the NFHS covering 6.1 Lakh sample households across the country. It revealed that the percentage of anaemic individuals, as well as obese children and adults, rose in India in the last five years.
Under the Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) strategy, for prevention of anaemia in school children, weekly Iron and Folic acid tablets - IFA pink and IFA blue are provided to children 5-9 years and 10-19 years respectively along with bi-annual deworming, using the school platform.
This data story aims to highlight the growing menace of anaemia in India.
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