SRIKAKULAM: In a disturbing indication of poor health among girls, 479 of 500 students of the Government College for Women here, were found to be abnormally anaemic. This startling fact came to light on Friday when the Red Cross Blood Bank conducted a blood donation camp in the college.
Red Cross officials found that only 21 girls were healthy enough to donate blood as their Hb is 12 grams/100 ml. Not even 5 per cent of the girls in the college have minimum haemoglobin level.
The situation at a private college is equally alarming. In a similar test conducted by Red Cross on Thursday, 39 of 40 girl students of a private college were found anaemic.
On Saturday, five students of another private college for girls came forward to donate blood, but all them were found unfit as their haemoglobin was far below the required level.
This worrying trend is not new as a haemoglobin screening drive conducted in all government and private schools and junior colleges in the district, between November and December 2018, only 16,273 of 1,03,728 girl students, between 11 and 18 years of age, were found to have 11 grams and above haemoglobin levels.
According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS), over 70.60 per cent of children below 5 years were also found anaemic in the district.
On average, about 30 maternal and 400 infant deaths are reported every year in the district. Eighteen maternal deaths have been reported since April this year, 31 last year and 28 in 2017 in the district.
Although district health officials are implementing haemoglobin improvement programmes in the in various forms, Hb levels among girl students have critically dropped.
When contacted, District Medical and Health Official Dr M Chenchayya said, “A healthy haemoglobin level among females is between 14 and 16 grams for 100 ml of blood. Those who have 12 grams can be considered healthy in the present conditions. Majority of the girls in the district are anaemic due to malnutrition,” he said, adding, “Keeping in view subnormal haemoglobin levels, we have again started haemoglobin screening tests for adolescent girls.
We will get the final report on the screening drive in the next two days. A plan of action will be initiated for the improvement of haemoglobin among adolescent girls.”
Speaking to TNIE, District Collector J Nivas said that ragi, sesame and peanut laddus were distributed among adolescent girls as part of Naandi programme for the improvement of haemoglobin levels.
It was stopped about two months ago and the district administration is planning to resume it soon for the benefit of girls, the Collector added.