The Directorate of Health Services is launching Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) by January end, under which it will distribute iron and folic tablets to reduce the incidence of anaemia among adolescents and youth. The programme will first start with government schools, higher secondary schools as well as anganwadis in the state, followed by aided schools.
Anaemia is a condition where the person has low red blood cells count or less than the normal quantity of haemoglobin in the blood.
Dr Jose D’Sa, in charge of the State Family Welfare Bureau, told media persons that even though Goa has good parameters on the health front, they cannot afford to be complacent on the prevalence of anaemia.
“Even though Goa has good health parameters, our infant mortality rate is 11 persons out of every thousand which is better than the national average of 42 per thousand. However, we cannot afford to be complacent about this,” Dr Jose D’Sa said.
He added that ensuring lower incidence of anaemia will reduce further instances of maternal mortality, which is lower than the national average in Goa. The maternal mortality is Goa is 32 deaths per one lakh live births as compared to the national average of 221 deaths.
According to Dr Preetam Naik, almost 12% of students in Goa are anaemic which while not manifesting itself through overt symptoms, was still a cause for concern. The rest of the country average for anaemia among children is 40%. “If one is anaemic one has greater chances of living an unhealthy adult life. Especially women have greater chances of giving birth to premature or low weight babies,” Dr Naik said.
The Directorate of Health Services has also started ‘Yuva Clinics’ at government primary, community and urban health centres, where a counsellor, under the guidance of a medical officer will address health, social, psychological and other problems and questions that adolescents face. Currently there are 19 health centre, five community health centres and four urban health centres where these clinics will function.
The health department will also continue with its Pentavalent vaccination scheme. This scheme which was earlier implemented and funded by the state will now be funded by the Central government. [H]