In India, anemia is identified as a serious health issue where half of the country’s women of reproductive age are anemic. Despite the fact Government of India has implemented several initiatives for eradicating anemia, only 13 per cent improved women cases have been registered as per Global Nutrition Report 2017. Anemia is linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm delivery and intrauterine growth retardation and associated with various maternal morbidities like fatigue and postpartum depression & increased maternal mortality.
Finding the solution to anemia in rural health iKure’s Community health worker’s follows a step-wise approach to improve status of anemia in its catchment areas namely Hubli, Tabageria and Varanasi. With scheduled home/ camp visit as well as in Hub & Spoke clinic, iKure extends care in the following ways:
Early detection: Early diagnostic is a first step towards the cure. With Low-cost point-of -care devices, iKure provides diagnostic services at the door Step/Camps/Hub/Spoke to ensure high coverage and penetration of its cost effective care to every women and across the remote belt.
Awareness building: iKure believes that if expectant women knew of the impact of anemia, they would surely not forget to take the supplement. Informing women about the possible side-effects of these supplements, such as black stools and nausea, also helps improve knowledge and understanding. iKure’s health workers with their stronghold in the village community create awareness among the rural population regarding appropriate feeding practices – including exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, and optimal complementary feeding during the first 2 years of life which are crucial for avoiding the development of iron deficiency anemia.
Regular screening and follow up: Most of the health initiative undertaken by the Government provides iron and folic acid supplements but assurance against consumption is not adequate. Regular follow up by the CHWs improve consumption patterns.
Targeting Vulnerable groups in a strategic way: Women at reproductive age and the children below 5 years are the most vulnerable group of Anemia. iKure target this vulnerable group in a fragmented way by their specific programmes like school health programme; MCH programme and special screening programme through workgroup and self-help group.
Distribution of Toolkit: iKure develops creative tools to create awareness among the population. These toolkits are delivered when a patient visit iKure’s clinic. It is a handy way to spread the message regarding anemia.
Conclusion :- Awareness building in appropriate feeding practices reflects in 90% mothers who have started breast
feeding within 1hr of delivery and has positive effect on improved birth weight. 51% child within 0 to 6 month of age and 31% child between 6 to 12 months of age were identified with no development delays minimizing adverse outcome of anemia in pregnant women.
Identifying anemia is vital because anemia can go undetected until it becomes severe. The multi- factorial disorder needs extensive communication campaign and technology to detect and treat anemia. iKure continues to bridge the gap through improved health practices, nutritional counselling and sanitation and hygiene practices.