13 crore teenagers to get iron supplement: Azad

    By IANS,

    Jaipur : The weekly iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation programme of the government will cover 13 crore adolescent boys and girls across the country, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Thursday.

    Under the programme, along with IFA tablets, adolescents and their families will be given information and counselling on nutrition and health education, Azad said inaugurating the programme in Rajasthan at a function organised at Birla Auditorium here. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was also present.

    The central government had provided Rs.135 crore in 2012-13 and Rs.750 crore in 2013-14 for implementation of the programme.

    Azad said adolescents form 22 percent of India’s total population who are the future of the country, but noted half of the adolescent population, both girls and boys, suffer from anaemia.

    He said that increasing number of anaemic people in the country is a matter of concern.

    Anaemia results in poor physical growth, poor school performance and reduced concentration in daily tasks. It has a negative impact on the working capacity and development of children, adolescents and adults, he said.

    “The WIFS programme has been launched to provide better health to the adolescents and make them strong,” said Azad.

    The programme came under a cloud last week after nearly 200 children fell ill after being administered IFA tablets in Delhi.

    However, Azad said that people specially parents and adolescents should be aware about the instantaneous side-effects after taking iron and folic acid tablets and said there is no need to panic about this as sometimes side-effects could be seen after taking them for the first time.

    He said that under the the Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana, the mother and the infant will now be given free medical treatment and transport facility for 45 days in case of having any kind of sickness after delivery of the baby.

    Infants will be provided free treatment in government hospitals for one year after birth in case of sickness, he added.

    Gehlot said that with the goal of ‘Health for All’, the Rajasthan government is opening medical colleges, appointing specialised doctors and doing other efforts.

    He said that the central government has approved additional 6,000 beds in 159 government hospitals in Rajasthan which will become a major relief for the patients.

    A state government official said that WIFS will cover school going adolescent girls and boys from 6th to 12th class enrolled in government, government aided and municipal schools.

    “Those children not going to school will be accessed through Aganwadi centres,” said the officer.