Telling numbers: Nearly 3 out of 5 babies and children in India are anaemic

The data, based on the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV (2015-16), divide the incidence of anaemia into ‘Mild’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Severe’ kinds for both rural and urban India.

As many as 58.5% of children between the ages of 6 months and 59 months, and 53.1% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 years, are anaemic in the country, the government told Lok Sabha last week.

As per the details of anaemic women and children in urban and rural India given by the government, 29.8% of children in rural India suffer from moderate anaemia, and 40.3% of women in the villages are mildly anaemic. The data, based on the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV (2015-16), divide the incidence of anaemia into ‘Mild’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Severe’ kinds for both rural and urban India.

Answering a question by Chandigarh BJP MP Kirron Kher, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan said that the union government had, in 2018, launched the “Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Strategy under POSHAN Abhiyaan with the aim to reduce anaemia prevalence by three percentage points every year till 2022”.

AMB, the Minister said, “is a 6x6x6 strategy that is targeting six age groups, with six interventions and six institutional mechanisms”. The six age groups include pre-school children (6-59 months), children (5-9 years), adolescent girls (10-19 years), adolescent boys (10-19 years), women of reproductive age group (15-49), and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Among the six interventions are prophylactic iron folic acid supplementation, periodic deworming, and addressing non-nutritional causes of anaemia in endemic pockets, with special focus on malaria, haemoglobinopathies and fluorosis, the Minister said. Institutional mechanisms include a National Anaemia Mukt Bharat Unit, and a National Centre of Excellence and Advanced Research on Anaemia Control.

Two Housing Tales, Many Lessons

Journalist Aaron Glantz remodelled his home with $8,000 that his wife and he received as part of the Obama administration’s stimulus package, also giving people employment in the process. He has now written Homewreckers, a book about the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, which tells the story of, as the book’s long, blunt subtitle says, “how a gang of Wall Street kingpins, hedge fund magnates, crooked banks, and vulture capitalists suckered millions out of their homes and demolished the American Dream”. It is, according to the review of the book in The New York Times, the “bigger story about American housing that’s tortuous, confounding and ultimately enraging”.

The other book out recently, also on housing, though with a different focus and from a different era, is Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership.

Taylor covers the period in the late 1960s and early 1970s when, “federal government partnered with a real estate industry enthusiastic about exploiting a new market but refusing to bear most of the risk”. Mismanagement, corruption, distorted incentives, and unenforced civil rights regulations were seen in what Taylor calls a system of “predatory inclusion”, which replaced the earlier system of racist exclusion. The government’s market-based solutions in its low-income housing programmes in the 1970s impacted Black neighbourhoods, Black women on welfare, and emergent discourses on the urban “underclass”, says Taylor.

Together, the two books present a picture of faulty government interventions in housing that, despite being focussed on the US, hold lessons for other parts of the world as well. As their joint review in The NYT says, they demonstrate together “what happens when private speculators get buoyed by government largess while non-tycoons are largely left to fend for themselves”.

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