Anemia prevention and control has been the priority agenda of State Government. Himachal Pradesh is showing the steady trend of decline in the Anemia which is evident from Anemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Index, 2020-2021 National rankings. State has secured 3rd position with score of 57.1 as per the rating. It is also worthwhile to note that on this score card, Himachal Pradesh was at rank 18 in the year 2018-2019 but with consistent efforts of the Government this rank has been improved to 3 in the 2020-21 AMB Index.
This is attributed to the consistent efforts of the State Government and robust implementation of policies. The State government is working with the various strategies under Prime Minister's Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment (POSHAN) Abhiyan and targets have been setup to reduce anemia.
The program covers the age groups of children 6 to 59 months, adolescents and women of reproductive age 15 to 49 years. The Anemia Mukt Bharat aims to provide preventive and curative mechanisms through a 6×6×6 strategy including six target beneficiaries, six interventions and six institutional mechanisms, for all stakeholders to implement the strategy. The strategy emphasizes on improving supply chain, targeted monitoring and continuous social mobilization using various channels of communication. Prophylactic Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation is also being given to women and children.
With the regular deworming of the school going children being done by the State, the prevalence of Soil Transmitted Helminths has decreased from 29 percent to 0.3 percent in a short span of 3 years indicating the effectiveness and implementation of the programme. Intensified year-round Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) Campaign, testing of anemia and point of care treatment and mandatory provision of Iron and Folic Acid fortified foods in Government funded health programmes has been made for addressing non-nutritional causes of anemia.
This comprehensive strategy is expected to yield positive results in decreasing Anemia prevalence. The score card and rankings in the Anemia Mukt Bharat Index are based on certain parameters like coverage of IFA supplementation across selected target beneficiaries to support assessment of progress and performance of the programme.
India is one of the countries with anemia as a serious public health concern today. Almost 50 percent of the pregnant women, 59 percent of children under five years of age, 54 percent of adolescent girls and 53 percent of non-pregnant non-lactating women of our country are anemic. Anemia during pregnancy is associated with post-partum hemorrhage, neural tube defects, low birth weight, premature births, stillbirths and maternal deaths. In other populations, anemia is associated with lowered immunity, poor cognitive development and decreased work productivity. The morbidity and mortality risks associated with anemia calls for an urgent need to design an effective strategy to address this public health problem. The decline in anemia prevalence will in turn contribute in improved maternal and child survival rates, and improved health outcomes for other population groups.