Adolescent Health

Prevention and control of anemia in pregnant women and adolescent girls in rural areas of Haryana, India

Anemia is one of the most commonly observed nutritional deficiency diseases in the world. Anaemia in adolescents limits their development, learning ability, reduces concentration in daily tasks, increases their vulnerability to infection, reduces physical fitness and work productivity. Anaemia in females during pregnancy is associated with intrauterine growth retardation, premature births, low birth weight, and peri-natal and maternal mortality. The main causes of anemia include nutritional deficiencies, hookworm infestations, malaria, and chronic bleeding. The effects of anemia on maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality can be reduced with appropriate and timely treatment and counselling. In India, National Anemia Control Programme distributes iron and folic tablets to pregnant women.

An operational study was conducted by SWACH Foundation in a community development block of district Yamunanagar in Haryana to find out the prevalence and knowledge of anemia in pregnant women and adolescent girls.

Objectives of the study were to assess the prevalence of anemia and its causes in pregnant women and adolescent girls in a rural population, to improve the awareness of the causes, consequences and treatment of anemia among different levels of health functionaries, pregnant women and adolescent girls, to improve the coverage and compliance of iron-folate supplements by pregnant women using a combination of IEC strategies and preferred choices of types of iron supplements, to improve the detection of anemia in pregnant women at different levels of health care by examining the validity of currently recommended screening tools and to reduce the prevalence of anemia in pregnant women through counselling and improved iron supplement.

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