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On A Mission Mode To Make Pratapgarh Anemia Free

The district administration of Pratapgarh in Rajasthan has started an initiative to tackle the high number of anemia cases The initiative has been divided into three stages – screening, action and execution It involves screening of all school children and pregnant women for anemia, distribution of iron-folic acid tablets, setting up Poshan Vatikas (nutri gardens), etc.
Indian Masterminds Stories

After a Rajasthan government survey discovered that anemia prevalence in Pratapgarh is among the highest in the state, the district administration swung into action to tackle it on a mission mode. The District Magistrate of Pratapgarh started an initiative to free Pratapgarh from anemia, which in effect is a detailed form of the state-level ‘Anemia Mukt Rajasthan Abhiyan’.

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, DM Pratapgarh, Sourabh Swami, IAS, shared details about the initiative.

TOWARDS ANEMIA FREE PRATAPGARH

The anemia free initiative in the district was divided into three stages. First stage is screening. This will be done in Anganwadis for 0-6 years kids, including school drop-out children. The school children in the age group of 6-19 years, whether they are from government or private schools, will be screened by the entrusted department. All pregnant women will also be screened in the first stage of this initiative.

“We are not only screening hemoglobin, but apart from this, we are also screening for around 16-17 other diseases that are visible and could be operated on, like cleft lip, cleft foot, skin diseases, diseases related to eyes, etc.,” Mr. Swami said.

The screenings are being done by medical teams in both government and private schools. The administration is ensuring that nobody in the age group of 0-19 years and no pregnant woman are left out from these screenings.

“We will also be screening 0-6 years kids for malnutrition with the help of Nutritional Screening Tools (NSTs), weight and height. In case there are cases of severely malnourished, then in the second phase, we will be forming different groups as per our survey results,” Mr. Swami said.  

Once the screening stage is completed, there comes the second stage of the initiative. It is all about the action that the administration is going to take on the basis of the screening results. All the eligible children, girls and women will be treated for anemia. In the National Child Health programme, the eligible students will be treated under the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme.

Mr. Swami further informed Indian Masterminds that, “Iron folic acid tablets will be provided to them. We are also motivating women to grow Poshan Vatikas at their homes and other nutritional products will be provided to every woman as per the need. Apart from this, we are preparing Poshan Vatikas in every school for the mid-day meal. Right now, we have around 350-400 Poshan Vatikas.”

The third stage of the initiative is executing all the plans on the field.  The administration is expecting to complete the screening within this month. By December, they will try to ensure that every screening that has been done has been monitored. The entire procedure will be repeated again after six months.

WHY ANEMIA CASES ARE HIGH

On being asked about the reasons behind the huge number of anemia and malnutrition cases in the district, Mr. Swami pointed out two major ones. First is the lack of nutrition. “Pratapgarh is a tribal area, and some monoculture farming sort of thing is practised here, which provides no basic nutrition. Also, lack of industries in this area leads to most of the tribal families being dependent upon agriculture only.”

Second reason is early marriage and high fertility rate. The officer said that they are working on both the issues through Poshan Vatikas (nutri gardens) and self-help groups.

APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC

While appealing to the people, Mr. Swami said, “Iron-folic acid tablets sometimes create a tendency to vomit with stomach ache, which is only for a brief period. So, I request the people to not to throw away the tablets that we are providing because of any such fear of vomiting or stomach ache.”


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