Anaemia levels high among pregnant women across State

India has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world and the main reason is postpartum haemorrhage or excessive blood loss after childbirth.
Studies have proved time and again that anaemic women are more susceptible to such blood loss and it also reduces their ability to survive the bleeding.
Anaemia in pregnant women can also lead to risk of premature deliveries and babies with low birth weights.

Baseline

The baseline study conducted in Aurad taluk in Bidar, Molakalmuru taluk in Chitradurga and Kollegal taluk in Chamarajnagar showed that 74 per cent, 78 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively, of the women surveyed had anaemia as defined by the World Health Organisation.

Even more dismaying was the fact that most women had no knowledge or even heard of anaemia, despite having been supplied iron and folic acid (IFA) tablets. Most pregnant women were not taking tablets regularly, it was found.

Interventions in India for such problems have revolved around dispersing IFA tablets to pregnant women through various centres like primary health centres and anganwadi centres free of cost and providing nutritious food.

However, the levels of acceptance of tablets have been disappointingly low due to several factors. Women taking the tablets have consistently complained of vomiting, loss of appetite, bad smell and dark stools.

No side effects

IFA capsules have been touted as a better option because of the lack of side effects. But the Central government, which had refused to consider the option due to increased expenditure, has only recently given the nod to supply capsules.

According to a health official in the Central government, the acceptance levels are also low as accredited social health activists (ASHA) do not inform the pregnant women the reason they have to take the tablets, or its side effects.

“The workers have to be trained to specifically discuss anaemia and also the side effects of taking the tablets. Otherwise, women will be terrified and naturally they will stop taking these tablets,” the official said.

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