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Anaemia: An Exterminate for Adolescent Girls

Anaemia is a condition in which the blood fails to supply the body tissue with sufficient amount of oxygen. This is either due to the lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin. For girls and boys adolescent is a period of physical and cognitive growth and development, because of menstruation cycle girls loses blood (iron) so girls need more iron and care during adolescent period. In the absence of proper care and diet girl suffers from deficiency of iron or anaemia which is not good for the rest of the life of adolescent girl. Jharkhand is a state where per capita income of household is Rs. 4161 (National Rural Health Mission 2006, p. 19), food security is a very big challenge. The household with lower socio-economic status will not get opportunity to consume iron rich, vitamin and protein rich food due to low purchasing power parity. In this case providing nutritious food to adolescent girls is extremely necessary to avoid the malnutrition anaemia.

Globally 818 million women (both pregnant and non-pregnant) and young children suffer from anaemia and over half of these, approximately 520 million, live in Asia (McLean, Cogswell, Egli, Wojdyla and Benoist. A guidebook on Nutritional Anaemia 2007). India has the largest national population of adolescents (243 million) which is approximately 20% of India’s total population. In Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asian countries India has highest number (47%) of underweight adolescent girls (age 15-19 year). More than 50% adolescent girls (age 15-19) in India are victim of anaemia (Unicef 2011).

Targeting adolescent girls will be effective way to ensure the prevalence of anaemia.  Anaemia has a great concern with development and the condition of anaemia goes on because an adolescent anaemia girl will give birth to low weight malnourished child. A malnourished child do not have normal growth rate and malnutrition affects the physical and mental growth of a child. Mental growth for child is necessary otherwise he will suffer from memory loss, weak in education, low intelligence, low weight and low height. When a child remains weak in education, low intelligence obviously he will not be able to get good job so employment increases and even though he will get job, he will not be able to get good salary package so indirectly anaemia affect the Gross National Product (GNP) of country.

In spite of anaemia prevalence program like ICDS Supplementary Nutrition Programme of Unicef implemented by government of India, 100% adolescent girls are anaemic.

It is intended that by 2012 all adolescent girls across the country should have at least 12 gm% hb by 12 years of age. (Unicef declaration 2007). Recent report of Unicef The state of worlds children 2011 says that more than 50% girls of age 15-18 are anaemic. We can understand the severity of anaemia. Even though government departments have exclusive program Adolescent Health Program which works to increase the health awareness  for the development and well being of adolescent girls. This data induce us to think the reasons which prohibit girls to come out of vicious cycle of anaemia

Objectives of study
  1. To determine the characteristics of adolescent girls with respect to anaemia.
  2. To measure knowledge, attitude and practices with respect to anaemia for different categories of adolescent girls.
  3. To critically review the various initiatives undertaken by different stakeholders to address anaemia among adolescent girls.
Methodology of study

I collect primary data using Participatory Learning Method, Anthropometry, Serum Haemoglobin Interview schedule, focus group discussion and with discussion. On April 2011 there were only 31 girls in village. Instead of using the sample I decided to study all available girls. I collected secondary data from Anganwadi center to better understand the demography of the village.

  Significance of study

My study gives the picture of anaemia on micro level. For a common man it enhances the knowledge of a person about anaemia. My research talks about the factor which are significantly associated with anaemia. Another interesting thing recommended daily allowance, what is the iron rich food we should need to include in our food whether we like or do not like. The importance of iron rich food could not be forgotten and if we want to see the development of our adolescent girls we should try to give them proper food to fulfil the requirement of iron in body.

Findings and Recommendations

All adolescent girls are anaemic. Three categories of anaemic girls are in village (1) severe anaemic, (2) moderate anaemic – 58% and (3) mild anaemic. Age, body mass index, family size, per capita income, caste has significant relationship with anaemia.

Number of girl and boy child, asset and infrastructure, level of education, mother level of education, number of earning member in family does not statistically significant relationship with severity of anaemia.

Dietary practices are responsible for mal nutritional anaemia in this village Navadih. People are not able to include green vegetables and pulses due to not accessibility of market. Another reason is that people have low purchasing power so vegetables and other greens are not affordable for people. Adolescent girls are far behind from recommended daily allowance of iron and other minerals. Mother level of knowledge is also very low for diet. Mother knowledge is responsible to educate their girls for the development and well being of their girls.

Knowledge of different categories of adolescent girls on anaemia is extremely low. Girls do not know anything about anaemia while all girls are anaemic. They do not have any idea about iron deficiency anaemia and its consequences. Girls take this deficiency as it is god given thing which will go with the passage of time. Attitude towards anaemia and its control is almost negative among adolescent girls. 35.40% girls are strongly disagree, 22.50% girls are disagree, 22.50% girls are neither agree nor disagree, 12.90% girls are agree and 6.50% girls are strongly agree. Majority of adolescent girls comes under negative attitude towards anaemia and its control.

To combat anaemia knowledge among adolescent girls is very low and prevalent practice to control anaemia is lesser than knowledge. Severe anaemic girl practice .40%, moderate anaemic girls practice .55% and mild anaemic girls follow .75% habits to contest anaemia.

Composite percentage of knowledge of anaemia is 1.27% and practice is 0.44%. we can see that knowledge score  is higher than practice score. Knowledge of diet, place to get information, medical knowledge and prevention of anaemia is on relatively good but when it comes to practice, people are lagging behind.

If we see the overall score of knowledge and practice we can say that people do not anything about anaemia and its prevalence.

Government Program are hope for poor girls which have core objective to create awareness about various health topic for the well being and development are not available in village. ICDS Nutritional and Supplementary Program is working on paper not in village. Nutrition, medical kit, Kishori shakti Yojana, VISTAAR project are never initiated in village but all programs are available on papers.


There is need to include iron rich food in the diet of adolescent girls. Grams, maize, Mustard leaf, powder milk and red meat has high iron component so at least once in a week girls should eat rich food to get recommended iron per day to gain normal body mass index.

Mustard leaf is affordable for adolescent girls so easily they can purchase and include twice or thrice in a week. Girls are taking food twice a day, they can increase food intake thrice a day so from this at least adolescent girls will be able to get 18 mg/d iron. Thrice in a day having food can help girls to increase the iron content in their body. At the time of preparing vegetables adolescent girls can use iron pot so that it will also increase iron mineral in the body of adolescent girls.

IFA tablets is another thing, adolescent girls should take IFA tablets after consulting the doctor or ANM of the village. Once these adolescent girls get married they should start taking IFA tablets before being pregnant because at the time of pregnancy there is need of more iron and nutrition food.

Latehar is a malaria prone area so awareness program should be organised to use mosquito net. Many people are get trapped in malaria in this particular village.

We can go for policy advocacy because government have special program of ICDS to give enhanced ration to adolescent girls. Other than ICDS , Nutrition program for underweight adolescent girls, Kishori shakti Yojana,  none of the program are working in village for the benefit of anaemic girls.

MNEGRA Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Scheme is which provides 100 days of employment to the people is also not working effectively. If this program will be implemented properly at least for 100 days people could be secure to get food.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) to create knowledge and awareness among people and basically to adolescent girls and mother on various health and hygiene issue. This program should have integrated approach to combat anaemia. Navadih is a malaria prone village so we should create awareness to use mosquito net, wearing chapels, hook worm infection. Proper knowledge should be given on menstruation for better understanding the cause of anaemia.

Community plays a significant role in providing health services and information to the people. Social marketing is one of the way to create awareness of anaemia and demand for supply of the health services from the government side. Counselling can be done to empower girls and women to make understand the importance of precaution measures to avoid anaemia in adulthood.

New innovative and cost effective method should be developed for the fortification of common people food. This will help to increase the iron in the food of adolescent girls for long term in a sustainable manner. Training program should be organised to make people aware about fortification of food as well as importance of iron for adolescent girls.

Monitoring and evolution of government program like ICDS Supplementary Nutritional Program should be strengthening. Most of the programs are running on paper not on ground level. There are other so called programs are also who take responsibility of adolescent health. Monitoring of these programs should be done properly and effectively.


Adolescent girls’s anaemia control week organised in Jharkhand (2010) Retrieved on May 21



Badham,J. Kraeme, K.(Ed.).(2007).The Guide book Nutritional Anaemia. Switzerland. Sight and

Life press. March 12, 2011 from


District Level Household and Facility Survey 2007-08. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Government of India 2010. International Institute of Population Science,(2010). Mumbai. Retrieved on May 21 from


Gender profile –Jharkhand( n.d.). Government of Jharkhand  Retrieved May 12, 2011 from


National Family Health Survey-III (NFHS-III), (2005-2006): India. Ministry of Health and Family

Welfare, Government of India. Vol. 1. New Delhi: MoHFW,( 2007)

National Nutritional Policy (1993). Government of India, Department of Women and Child

Development, Ministery of Human Resource Development. New Delhi


ADOLESCENT GIRLS AND PREGNENT WOMEN. District level Household Survey on Reproductive and Child Health 2002-2004. India 2006


THE STATE OF WORLD’S CHILDREN.(2011). Unicef Retrieved May 26, 2011 from


Filed under: Research Methods for Developmnent

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