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IHW Council to observe March 21 as National Anaemia Day

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Mysuru: Recognising that the fight against a widespread disease like anaemia lacks private initiatives, the Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council, a non-profit social impact institution promoting health for all, along with six other health and civil society organisations, has announced to observe March 21 every year as National Anaemia Day to raise awareness and broach dialogues.

The announcement came on the concluding day of Bharat Nutrition Week as a part of a two-year-long undertaking titled ‘SHAPATH’ by women-driven multisectoral leaders aimed to substantially reduce the prevalence of anaemia in India and prevent its return, and was enthusiastically supported by the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), the an oldest professional organization representing practitioners of obstetrics and gynaecology in India.

Anaemia continues to affect 50 per cent of women, adolescent girls and boys in India despite the National Nutritional Anaemia Prophylaxis Programme (NNAPP) beginning in 1970.  The VISION 2022 of the collective is to bring down the prevalence of iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA) from NFHS(4)-level of 58% to 40% in lactating women, from 50% to 32% in pregnant women, and from 54% to 36% in adolescent girls between 15 and 19 years-old by 2022. Earlier, a multi-party collective was launched to reinforce the government’s initiative of Anaemia-Mukt Bharat and reduce prevalence remarkably by 2022. 

Strengthening  the government initiative of anaemia-mukt Bharat, SHAPATH will walk the path to reach the target set for adolescent boys between 15 and 19 years-old — 11% from current 29% and to 40% from 58% in children between 6 to 59 months A rigorous data collection, documentation, and monitoring & evaluation (M&E) regime will be followed to assess the value of these interventions and collaborate with government authorities to leverage policy framework and contribute to accelerating the national mission to eradicate anaemia by 2022.

Apart from the IHW Council, members of the collective include FOGSI, WWW Foundation, Asian Research and Training Institute for Skill Transfer (ARTIST), Vedanta Nand Ghar, WISH Foundation, WASH alliance and Emcure Pharmaceuticals. The collective will identify the target groups and deploy teams, provide products and equipment support for ‘test-and-cure’ programmes in most-affected districts and states with an aim to reinforce the government’s commitment for an ‘anaemia-mukt Bharat’.

“With the pandemic, we as obgyns are facing the biggest health care challenge of all times, compounded with the issues of gender inequality and access to care, but nevertheless, the essential care for girls and women has to continue. I congratulate the IHW Council for this timely ‘SHAPATH’ intervention for anaemia care and we will support the initiative in every possible way. FOGSI, this year, has initiated a 90-day campaign from 15th August for anemia reduction and is reaching out to the community through multiple platforms. We chose radio campaigns this time and have connected with nearly 1 crore 6 lakh people so far,” said Dr Alpesh Gandhi, President, FOGSI.

“The time to think, talk, and listen is over, it is time for moving from awareness to action and deliver solutions that work. SHAPATH is a strong resolve to make this a national movement and the women leaders involved are determined to make a difference by walking the talk in collaboration with the IHW Council, amplifying and accelerating the pace to reach a meaningful destination. FOGSI champions will continue to extend their support and join to the initiative to reach every girl every woman,” says Dr Hema Divakar, CEO and Chairman, Asian Research and Training Institute for Skill Transfer (ARTIST) and former president FOGSI (2013).

“Bharat Nutrition Week was aimed to deliberate on pressing concerns and initiate meaningful actions. I am very happy to be a part of this women-driven anaemia-reduction program through SHAPATH, which aims to accelerate time-bound reduction of anaemia in India. The IHW Council has reached to as many as 20 lakh people through various social media handles in the past 1 month and hopes to cover more ground in the coming days with other initiatives required to ensure health for all,” says Kamal Narayan, CEO, Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council.

– Team Mysoorunews


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