Initiative to make iron-rich food a priority

On Dhanteras, Project Streedhan campaigns to help urban Indian women counter the growing problem of anaemia.

Published: 25th October 2019 08:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2019 08:16 AM   |  A+A-

An edible piece of jewellery installation at the Gold Souk in Gurugram

An edible piece of jewellery installation at the Gold Souk in Gurugram

Express News Service

Today, on Dhanteras, when you’re at jeweller’s showroom to buy a piece of gold, think again. Is it really gold that you appear alluring or another metal that has the ability to do so? Yes, it is not gold but iron – iron in your blood – that has the ability to make you look radiant. Keeping the women’s health in mind, DSM, an MNC specialising in solutions for nutrition, health and sustainable living, has launched a campaign to raise awareness about anaemia.

Titled Project Streedhan, the campaign gains significance because more than 50 per cent urban women in India are anaemic, and India overall has one of the poorest anaemia records in the world. The main cause of anaemia is iron deficiency, brought about by lack of balanced diet and nutrition. 

Through Project Streedhan, women are being made aware to consider iron as important as gold and invest in it by improving their nutritional habits and eating healthy, iron-rich foods.

A still from the Project Streedhan advertorial

The high percentage of urban Indian women being anaemic is shocking, considering that being financially independent they have more exposure to information and access to healthcare facilities than their rural counterparts. But a little digging into previous records shows this anomaly has always existed. It also brings to the fore the fact that economic empowerment doesn’t necessarily translate into physical health, because the government efforts in the health sector are directed mostly towards rural women. 

“More than 50 per cent women who visit us are anaemic. This is true of both private OPD and general OPD, which means even women in the upper strata of society do not take care of their nutritional needs. As women bleed every month, they need more nutrition, but they don’t pay attention to this aspect,” says Dr Raka Guleria, a practising gynaecologist with over three decades of experience. 

“The fact that more than 50 per cent urban Indian women are anaemic is a caustic reminder of the gender bias at play and the fact that a woman is always the last in the line in her family when it comes to healthy nutrition,” says Dr Rajan Sankar, Director, Nutrition, Tata Trusts. 

Meanwhile, the organisers have approached celebrities, jewellers, social media influencers as also the NGOs working at the grassroots. So far, 50 leading jewellers, including Hazoorilal Legend, KK Jewellers, MBJ, Heera Bhai Jewellers, Seth Jewellers, SN Jewellers have pledged support to spread the message among their customers. Bollywood stars Vidya Balan, Dia Mirza, Rituparna Sengupta, Mandira Bedi and Soha Ali Khan have spoken about the cause (#InvestInIron) on their social media accounts.

Further, edible iron-rich jewellery installations have been placed at strategic locations to draw the attention of women towards iron. Gold souk Mall in Gurugram has one such huge installation already in place. 
Chief Creative Officer of FCB Ulka, Swati Bhattacharya, who has conceptualised and created Project Streedhan says that the idea behind the campaign is to exhort women to think about what is more important for them. “We want women to invest in a metal other than gold... in a metal that turns to gold inside them. The real streedhan is iron,” said Bhattacharya. 

The numbers game:

As per the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, 53 per cent of women. 

Forty per cent of women are mildly anaemic, 12 per cent are moderately anaemic, and one per cent is severely anaemic. 

Anaemia varies by maternity status — 58 per cent women who are breastfeeding are anaemic, compared with 50 per cent who are pregnant and 52 per cent women who are neither pregnant nor breastfeeding.

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