May 14, 2022 10:41 pm

73% Children Below 6 Years In Kashmir Are Anaemic: Survey

Representational Photo

Srinagar- The latest findings from the fifth round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5, 2019-21) have surprisingly brought into forth that an increasing number of people across all population groups, including men, women and children below six years, in J&K is being severely affected by anaemia.

According to the NFHS report, at least 73 percent of children between the 6-59 months age group, in J&K, have anaemia as compared to 53.8 percent in the last survey(NFHS-4) conducted in 2015-16.

Similarly, among adults , the report stated, 66 percent of women have been found anaemic. For females in J&K, anaemia’s prevalence has shown a drastic increase of 17.1 percent in the latest survey when compared to 48.9 percent recorded in 2015-16. As per NFHS, the prevalence of anaemia among women in J&K is among the highest rates recorded in the Union Territories across India.

At least, 27 percent of men (in the 15-49 group) in J&K have anaemia. Notably, anaemia is a condition which is strictly marked by low levels of hemoglobin in the blood.

However, the recent data finding of NFHS is itself a massive blow to the Government of India’s “Anaemia Mukt Bharat (Anaemia Free India)” strategy which had noted a target of three percent reduction in prevalence of anaemia per year among children and women in the 20–49 age group in four years (2018-2022).

“The prevalence of anaemia among children age 6-59 months was found highest among children in Gujarat (80 percent), followed by Madhya Pradesh (73 per cent), Rajasthan (72 per cent), and Punjab (71 per cent). The union territory (UT) of Ladakh, at 94 percent, was found to have the highest prevalence of anaemia. Other UTs with high anaemia prevalence included Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (76 per cent), and Jammu & Kashmir (73 per cent).” NFHS report stated.

It must be noted here that several of J&K’s nutritional indicators have worsened since the fourth round of the NFHS, which was held in 2015-16. However, it looks as if the erstwhile state has hit a major demographic milestone when the percentage of anaemia in J&K increased at an average of 17.1 percent in all the age groups especially among children (6-29 months) and women, according to the latest survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare between 2019 and 2021.

Another graph, which explains anaemia through levels of haemoglobin provided by NFHS, clearly shows that 43.6 percent of children in J&K have moderate anaemia, 25.1 percent has mild and 4.0 percent is battling severe anaemia. After Ladakh (93.9 percent), Gujarat (79.7 percent), Dadra & Nagar Haveli(75.8 percent), J&K has the fourth highest rate of anaemia among children across India.

For women (15-29) in J&K, mild anaemia was recorded at 25.3 percent, moderate anaemia stood at 37.8 percent while severe anaemia was recorded at 2.8 percent. While 28.5 percent men (15-29) in J&K have mild anaemia, 8.0 percent have moderate and only 0.2 percent have severe anaemia.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir