Percentage of children and women suffering from anemia has gone up in most of the 22 states and union territories covered in the first phase of the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) but the situation is alarming in Assam and some other states in the northeastern region of the country.
Assam has witnessed an increase in the prevalence of anaemia among children in the age group of 6-59 months by a whopping 32.7 per cent in 2019-20 with the percentage of such children under five reaching up to 68.4 per cent in the state from 35.7 per cent recorded in the fourth round of the NFHS in 2015-16.
The state has seen an increase in the prevalence of anemia in women in the age group of 15-49 by staggering 19.9 percent with their percentage rising up to 65.4 percent in 2019-20 from 46 per cent in 2015-16
The Assam has recorded highest increase in the prevalence of anemia among children under five and women in the age group of 15-49, as compared to that in the remaining 21 states and union territories covered in the fifth round of the NFHS conducted under the aegis of the Union health ministry for 2019-20.
The trend of rise in the percentage of children under five suffering from anaemia is equally worrying in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.
According to NFHS-5 data released recently, percentage of anemia among children in Mizoram went up to reach 46.4 per cent in 2019-20 from 19.3 per cent in 2015-16, showing an increasing by 27.1 percent.
Manipur saw a rise in the anaemic children by 18.9 per cent, with the percentage of such children reaching 42.8 per cent in 2019-20 from 23.9 per cent in 2015-16.
Nagaland has witnessed an increase in the number of children with anemia by 16.3 per cent with the NFHS-5 pegging the percentage of such children at 42.7 per cent in the states in 2019-20 as against 26.4 per cent in 2015-16.
In Tripura, the survey found 64.3 percent of children under five with lower haemoglobin levels than the normal, showing a rise in the percentage of anaemic children in the state by 16 per cent in 2019-20. The state had 48.3 per cent of children suffering from anemia in 2015-16, according to the NFHS-4 data.
Sikkim has witnessed an increase in the anaemic children by 1.3 percentage points, as 56.4 per cent of children in the age group of 6-59 months in the state were found to have lower levels of haemoglobin in blood in 2019-20. In the NFHS-4, percentage of such children in the state was pegged at 55.1 per cent in 2015-16.
According to NFHS-5 data, percentage of women with anaemia in the age group of 15-49 in Mizoram has increased by 10 percent. The State, which had 24.8 percent anaemic women in 2015-16, has been found to have 34.8 per cent women with lower haemoglobin levels in 2019-20.
Prevalence of anaemia among women in Tripura has increased from 54.5 percent in 2015-16 to 67.2 percent in 2019-10, showing an increase by 12.7 percent. The percentage of anemia among women in Sikkim, which has recorded a slight rise in the anemia among children, has increased by 7.3 percent with the NFHS-5 pegging it at 42.1 per cent for 2019-20 against 34.9 per cent recorded in 2015-16.
Although, 29.4 per cent of women in Manipur and 28.9 per cent in Nagaland have been found to be suffering from anaemia in 2019-20, but the two states have witnessed an increase in the percentage of such women by 3 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.
The prevalence of anemia among children and women has significantly gone up in Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
While Gujarat has recorded 17.1 percent increase in the number of children with anemia, percentage of women with anemia in the state has risen by 10.1 per cent. According to NFHS-5, a whopping 79.7 percent of children were found to have had lower levels of haemoglobin in 2019-20 as against 62.6 per cent in 2015-16. The number of women with anaemia has risen to reach 65 per cent in 2019-20 from 54.9 percent in 2015-16.
In Maharashtra, the survey has found 68.9 per cent of children suffering from anaemia, showing an increase in the number of such children by 15.1 per cent in 2019-20. Prevalence of anaemia among children in the State had been pegged at 53.8 per cent in 2015-16.
The number of women with anaemia in Maharashtra has increased from 48 per cent in 2015-16 to 54.2 per cent in 2019-20.
In West Bengal, number of children with anaemia has gone up by 14.8 per cent with 69 percent of the children in the state found to have lower levels of haemoglobin in the fifth round of the NFHS survey in 2019-20 as against 54.2 percent recorded in 2015-16.
Prevalence of anemia among women has worsened in West Bengal as well with the number of women with lower haemoglobin levels rising from 62.5 percent in 2015-16 to 71.4 per cent in 2019-20.