Preventing Adolescent Anemia in Rural India (Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh)

India is home to 253 million adolescents (10 to 19 years) and we stand with them at a crossroad between losing out on the potential of a generation or nurturing them to transform society. As adolescents flourish, so do their communities, and all of us have a collective responsibility to ensure that adolescence is an age of opportunity. Adolescence is a nutritionally vulnerable time when rapid physical growth increases nutrient demands. Dietary behaviours established in adolescence may contribute to nutrition-related problems that have consequences for long-term health. According to the National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS-4), 54% of adolescent girls and 29% of adolescent boys were anemic in India. Anemia among adolescents adversely affects growth, resistance to infections, cognitive development and work productivity.

Sampushti Pilot

In 2021, DC, in association with HCL Foundation, initiated a pilot project in the Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh wherein families of adolescent girls will be provided with fortified atta as well imparted with necessary information to stimulate behavioural modification. The overarching aim is to address anemia in the adolescent period, to ensure overall improvement in health and wellness and better pregnancy outcomes later in life.

Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e., vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.

The following are the overarching objectives of the current program.

  • Reduction in Adolescent malnutrition prevalence (improvement in BMI).
  • Reduction in prevalence of iron deficiency anemia.
  • Knowledge improvement and behaviour change in terms of women’s health and personal hygiene.
  • Creation of a set of Communication toolkits / modules that is localized in context and delivery. This would be flexible to adaptation and further development with ongoing insights from the community

Sampushti 2.0

DC visualizes young girls and boys (adolescents) reaching their full mental and physical development by addressing the health and economic impacts caused due to lack of iron in the body, ensuring their own and shared socio-economic growth of the community.

DC’s mission through the program is to extend the reach of our anemia control program to thousands of adolescent girls and boys-
  • By advocating and creating awareness on anemia impacts on overall health and wellbeing.
  • By establishing the requisite IFA supply chain and ensuring delivery and compliance to the TG.
  • To coordinate the efforts and to integrate the interventions of various key stakeholders to effectively address anemia.
In the current year, DC, in partnership with HCL Foundation, proposes to
  • Identify and aid engagement with around 75 schools in the selected geography
  • Ensure pre- and post- supplementation health check-up (BMI, BP, Hb) and consultation to all girls in these schools.
  • Provide prophylactic weekly supplementation of iron and folic acid tables (IFA) to girls with normal Hb
  • Provide daily IFA supplementation for all girls identified with mild to moderate anemia
  • Ensure raised awareness on Adolescent health issues (nutrition, anemia, menstrual hygiene etc).
  • Capacity building of all stakeholders (school teachers, FLWs such as ASHA/ANM and HCLF personnel) on Adolescent health issues.
  • Monitor, evaluate, report progress and findings
Our four-fold strategy as detailed below has been designed keeping in mind the coordinated and integrated efforts necessary to effectively address the defined problem.
  • Why Iron? - Education, awareness, and acceptance in the target community (adolescents, families, community, healthcare workers, local food producers and suppliers) towards the importance of iron in our bodies, especially in adolescence and impact of its deficiency on health, economic and social growth of the family and society.
  • Superpower of my food- To educate and promote optimizing the nutritional uptake of iron from existing food habits and simple alterations including the identification and promotion of accessible, affordable local alternatives.
  • Main Kyun? - To educate, engage and create ownership in adolescent girls and boys towards their own health, addressing the impact of iron deficiencies, hygiene, sexual well-being, and harmony between genders.
  • Sab saath - Engagement of key stakeholders such as teachers, ASHA and public health care workers, government departments / programs actively implementing supplementation programs etc., to raise awareness, initiate action, and re-instill/support IFA supplementation programs and activities.