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The Losing Battle with Anemia

Rani, a 21 year old newly wed embarks upon her next journey, embraces a new family. She bears a pale complexion, with petite body structure, possessing the common appearance of any girl in her 20s in the rural India. Few months after her marriage, she gets pregnant and is on her way to create a new life within her womb. But certainly, unaware of the basic essentials that are vital for the growth of baby, she can loose the child. The inhibited growth of her baby bump startles her, as it’s been over 4 months. Now she seeks the medical help, as it concerns her baby’s well being. The Doctor was disappointed as well as worried of the rising miscarriages in the part of her village and the reason for such alarming rise of the maternal and foetal complications was none other than the dreadful anemia. Rani, too lost her first baby to this fatality. Many young women suffered and has been suffering losses owing to the rampant anemic scourge. The ugly head of Anemia has been a major health concern, which has been planned to be tackled since a longer period of time.

Anemia is known as, a condition which develops if the blood is deficient of enough red blood cells or hemoglobin, which binds oxygen and in the deficiency of the same the cells will not be able to get oxygen, resulting in fatigue, dizziness, weakness and many other problems. The Anemia is classified into these types- very severe anemia, severe anemia, moderate anemia and mild anemia. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), classified anemia in pregnant women as follows :

  • Mild anemia- Hb 10.0mg/dl-10.9 mg/dl
  • Moderate anemia- Hb 7.0mg/dl-10.0mg/dl
  • Severe anemia- Hb less than 7mg/dl
  • Very severe anemia- Hb less than 4mg/dl.

The causes of anemia varies from the iron deficiency (globally recognized cause) to other causes like deficiency of Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, folate, inflammations, parasitic infections, inherited disorders. According to World Health Organization, about 14 % of pregnant women are affected by anemia in the developed countries and for the developing countries; the number goes as higher as 51%. The number of global maternal deaths due to anemia occurs in South Asian countries and 80% of these deaths occur in India.

These alarming data’s are mind boggling. Whereas, everyone is focusing on the major epidemics, terrorizing the nations and public, there is an opportune condition seeping into the daily lives marring the health condition of women and children, at large. Anemia not only affects the health, but also the capability to perform in daily lives. Largely, the type of anemia which affects the women and children is iron-deficiency anemia and the reasons for the same attributes to the dietary habits (majority of women in India are vegetarians), illiteracy, poverty and scarce knowledge of dietary intake, poor hygiene, and among pregnant women, the causes are irregular ante-natal checkups, poor information, inadequate medical facilities, short birth interval between the pregnancies. To combat this menace, Government has taken steps and made efforts to minimize the effects of anemia by providing iron and food supplements to pregnant and lactating women under the Integrated Child Development Scheme and also conducted camps to spread awareness and need of proper hemoglobin to improve maternal and foetal health. But the same has not been enough to curtail the prevalence of anemia.

There is a need to extend the resources by the government to implement a well-knitted program to counter the same. A proper designed program consisting of the necessary diet charts are to be followed in schools, cultivating in the children a habit of eating well and eating right from the very tender age, spreading awareness of the intake of iron supplements and periodical hemoglobin checkup via. Public skits and TV broadcasting, conducting seminars, promotion of healthy diet in public platforms are to be implemented. The condition of anemia should be taken serious, as loss of lives to the disease which we can easily get rid off is not plausible for us and as a nation striving to advance on all levels; these challenges are to be met instantly with a tenacious fight. Hoping to hop on new avenues with a drive to free our country from vices, we along with our country must all vow to make changes in our lives to concur with the nation’s vision of growth and live healthy, prosperous life.