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Anaemia among postnatal mothers and children in Bihar, a matter of concern: Tejashwi Yadav

The high prevalence of anaemia among postnatal mothers and children aged between 6 and 59 months in Bihar is posing a challenge to health authorities, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said. The district authorities have been instructed to create awareness among postnatal mothers pertaining to reduction of the prevalence and severity of anaemia and the positive effect of routine iron-folic acid supplementation, Yadav, who also holds the health portfolio, said in the assembly on Friday.

“Nearly 63 per cent women and 69 per cent children (6 to 59 months) are anaemic in the state. The coverage for anaemic postnatal mothers in Bihar stands at 42.6 per cent which is certainly a matter of concern. The prenatal coverage for anaemia among pregnant women is 80 per cent in Bihar”, Yadav said.

Anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or the haemoglobin concentration within them is lower than normal. Haemoglobin is needed to carry oxygen and if it is not adequate, there is a decreased capacity of the blood to carry oxygen to the tissues in the body.

Iron is a key component of haemoglobin, and the most common cause of anaemia include nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron deficiency. Diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and parasitic infections also cause anaemia.

According to the Bihar Economic Survey (2022-23) report, recently tabled in the assembly, “There is an increase in the percentage of anaemic children from 63.5 per cent in 2015-16 to 69.4 per cent in 2019-21…an increase of 5.9 per cent.

“Out of 38 districts in the state, three districts with a higher prevalence of anaemia among the children aged between 6 and 59 months are Jamui (81.9 per cent), Nalanda (80.3 per cent) and Sheikhpura (80.01 per cent).

“Three districts with the lowest prevalence of anaemia are Gopalganj (56.1 per cent), East Champaran (61.0 per cent) and West Champaran (61.6 per cent)”.

Anaemia can result in maternal mortality, weakness, diminished physical and mental capacity, increased morbidity from infectious diseases, perinatal mortality, premature delivery, low birth weight and, in children it can affect cognitive performance, motor development and scholastic achievement.

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