Schoolchildren to get iron, folic acid tablets from tomorrow

Programme aimed at checking nutritional anaemia

The Health and Family Welfare department will be launching the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid supplementation (WIFS) programme from July 17 to do away with nutritional anaemia among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women in the state.

Under the WIFS programme, Iron and Folic Acid capsules will be given to girls and boys enrolled in Class VI to XII in government and government-aided schools and anganwadi centres. IFA supplements of 100 mg elemental iron and 500 microgram of Folic Acid will be given to children every Monday.

The IFA supplementation in the form of capsules with enteric coating (barrier applied to oral medication that controls the location in the digestive system where it is absorbed) to avoid diarrhoea and vomiting, will be supplied to children across the country from Wednesday.

The nodal teachers from every school and anganwadi workers have been trained to implement the scheme to screen the target groups’ anaemia and refer them to the nearest public health facility. The programme also includes a component of deworming every six months to control helminthic (worms)
infestation.

What is anaemia?

Anaemia is basically low haemoglobin level in the blood, which is a serious public health problem in the country as per the National Family Health Survey-3 conducted in 2005-2006. The survey said that nearly 74 per cent of the people have their haemoglobin level less than the normal level.

The survey states that in Karnataka, anaemia was high among pregnant women (60.4 pc), women in reproductive age group (52.2 pc), adolescent girls (51.3 pc), adolescent boys (26.9 pc) and children under five years (70 pc).

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