A sweet supplement for anaemic girls

Girls in Hyderabad’s government-run schools are in for a healthy treat from mid-July — a special laddu made of ragi, ghee, jaggery, dry fruits and nuts.

This will make Hyderabad the first city to implement the mandate of providing additional nutritional support under the Centre’s Beti Bachao Beti Padao scheme.

Health check-up

The decision came after a health check-up of girl students in June this year found that 24% of them suffered from severe anaemia, with a haemoglobin count of less than 8 g/dL (grams per decilitre). Moreover, 72% of the approximately 26,000 girls in government schools were found to have a haemoglobin count of less than 10 g/dL, indicating mild anaemia (the ideal range for Indian women is 11-12 g/dL). The initial budget (of three months) for the project, to be funded by the Telangana State Medical Services and Infrastructure Development Corporation is Rs. 25-30 lakh. Tenders will be floated to select laddu makers.

The girls will also be given intra-muscular injections and weekly iron-folic acid supplements to increase their haemoglobin count faster; 7 lakh iron-folic acid tablets are being readied for distribution.

Hyderabad District Collector Yogita Rana told
The Hindu
, “The initiative will help menstruating adolescent girls. Anaemia makes their menstrual cycle dangerous because their haemoglobin count falls to 6 g/dL or lower at this time.”

Initially, 6,000 students with severe anaemia will be treated, leaving out girls with milder deficiencies for a second phase.

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