70% pregnant women in India anaemic, maximum in Haryana : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, January 13

Seven in every 10 pregnant women in the country were found to be anaemic in 2021-22, up from 67.9 per cent a year earlier with the situation even worse in the northern states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

Treatment rate highest in Uttarakhand

  • The lowest anaemia treatment rate is in Sikkim (17.6%), Mizoram (18.8%), Ladakh (35.5%)
  • The highest treatment rate is in Uttarakhand (100%), Jammu & Kashmir (98.9%) and Maharashtra (97.8%)

WHO criteria

Haemoglobin value of less than 11 gram per decilitre is defined as anaemia in pregnancy by WHO

Anaemia in pregnancy can be further divided as:

mild: 10.0–10.9 g/dL;

moderate: 7–9.9 g/dL;

and severe: less than 7 g/dL

The latest analysis of maternal health indicators fed by states and UTs into the Centre’s Health Management Information System (HMIS) system reveals that the highest prevalence of anaemia was found in Haryana where 97.5 pc of pregnant women, who reported at health facilities for antenatal check-up in 2021-22, were found anaemic followed by 90 pc in Himachal Pradesh, 85 pc in Maharashtra, 82 pc in Mizoram and 81 pc in Punjab.

Though Kerala, Puducherry and some northeastern states recorded a lower level than national prevalence of 70 pc, even these states witnessed an increase in the prevalence of anaemia during pregnancy from 2019-2020.

Anaemia has been recognised as the most common form of nutritional deficiency worldwide. The overall iron requirement during pregnancy is significantly greater than otherwise.

The only solace appears to be the fact that a majority of the pregnant women captured by the data — 95.5 pc — fall in the category of mild anaemic (haemoglobin between 7.1 and 10.9 grams per decilitre) as against 4.5 pc women who had severe anaemia (less than 7 grams).

Sikkim had the highest percentage (13 pc) of pregnant women with severe anaemia followed by Jammu & Kashmir (12%) and Telangana (8%).

The lowest proportion of severely anaemic pregnant women is in Himachal Pradesh at 0.6 pc. What’s more worrisome is the lack of treatment of anaemia, which can be easily addressed.

The management of anaemia at the institutional level leaves much to be desired with only 65.56 pc pregnant women with severe anaemia treated at the institutions.

The lowest anaemia treatment rate in India is in Sikkim (17.6 pc), Mizoram (18.8 pc), Ladakh (35.5 pc) and the highest treatment rate has been found in Uttarakhand (100 pc), J&K (98.9 pc) and Maharashtra 97.8 pc.

The anaemia burden continues to grow despite the

52-year-old National Nutritional Anaemia Prophylaxis Programme.

The plan hinges on expectations that women will consume 100 tablets of iron and folic acid over three months during pregnancy but experts say anaemia is misconstrued as iron deficiency alone whereas it includes deficiency of micronutrients and Vitamin B 12.

As of March 2022, 2.17 lakh health facilities across 747 districts fed their data into the HMIS portal of the health ministry across 747 districts. The measurement of anaemia in pregnancy is based on the data of women who reported to these facilities for antenatal check-ups.

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