BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to battle anaemia in women, the most common cause of high maternal mortality in Odisha, an ambitious study on efficacy of iron sucrose therapy in pregnant women with such condition has gone underway at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack.
The study involves replacing the conventional oral iron tablet supplementation with intravenous iron sucrose administration in moderate doses to severely anaemic pregnant women. The project sponsored by the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) and supported by WHO, Union Government and State National Health Mission aims to determine the effects of the therapy in comparison with the standard iron-folic acid tablets.
All pregnant women with moderate to severe anaemia within 30 km radius of Cuttack will be included in the project. Women with low haemoglobin levels ranging from 5-8 gm/dl and between 20 and 28 weeks of pregnancy will be treated with iron sucrose therapy. They will be monitored throughout and provided other nutritional support and counselling till they deliver.
According to available data, anaemia is the single most contributory factor to maternal mortality, indirectly accounting for almost half of the deaths. Odisha has the dubious distinction of ranking among the worst performing States in terms of maternal mortality with 230 lives lost in one lakh population against national average of 178. At least six in 10 women in the reproductive age group in the State suffer from anaemia.
The study, anchored by chief investigator and Prof PC Mahapatra of Obstetrics and Gynaecology department along with co-investigator Prof Shyama Kanungo, would be conducted over two years till 2016 and based on its outcome, the therapy may be adopted on a wider scale across the State. Preliminary results have been encouraging.
“However, the effects and benefits can only become clear after the study samples are extensive,” Prof Kanungo said.
The NHM has prioritised reduction of maternal mortality by controlling the six major cause of fatalities. With anaemia a major cause, the thrust is now on devising effective strategies to mitigate the problem.
A meeting of the NHM chaired by Mission Director Roopa Mishra and attended by Deputy Commissioner (maternal health), Union Health Ministry Dr Himanshu Bhusan and Head of O&G department SCBMCH Prof PC Mohapatra reviewed the progress of the study.
If successful, the new therapy will be adopted and integrated in the antenatal programme across all health facilities down to the grassroots, Mishra said.