Malnutrition is a substantial issue in middle income and low-income countries. It encompasses both – undernutrition as well as obesity. However maternal undernutrition is a bigger risk as it stunts the growth and development of a child before it is even born. Inadequate intake of nutritious food, early and multiple pregnancies, poverty and gender inequality are some of the responsible factors of this. The biggest health concern that arises, as a result, is anaemia.
Anaemia is a significant health risk especially among women, adolescent girls and children in India. It is the world’s second leading cause of disability and thus one of the most serious global public health problems. At least 50% of the female population in the country regardless of age, residency or pregnancy status are anaemic. Almost half of the pregnant women and about 58% of breastfeeding women are anaemic in the country.
The country has been working to prevent this health condition by launching various programmes and initiatives for the benefit of women. India first launched a nationwide programme for the prevention of anaemia among pregnant women in the fourth five-year plan in 1969-74. The programme has expanded and evolved multiple times in light of performance and new scientific evidence. In order to bring synergy to existing iron supplement programmes and schemes, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare developed the National Iron+ initiative in 2016-17. This initiative embraced all the programs across all population categories for addressing this preventable health condition.
CSR Project Roshni fights anaemia
In order to participate in the movement eliminating anaemia from the country, Roche Diagnostics India private Limited initiated project Roshni in their CSR campaign. The project initiated in January 2015, provides healthcare and nutrition to severely anaemic women in the tribal villages of Palghar, the average haemoglobin levels of whom were less than 8 gm/dL.
As part of the CSR initiative, women are facilitated with regular health camps, medication, puppet shows and cooking competition. The haemoglobin levels of these women rose by 2 gm/dL in five months as a result of this project.
Apart from this, in order to empower the women and make them self sustainable, drumstick saplings and kitchen garden training were provided to 500 tribal women, rainwater harvesting established in 100 village homes, and borewells were installed.