Anemia â€” A health problem for women and children
NSM Muzzammel Huq :
A developing country like Bangladesh has multifarious health issues and problems. Anemia- iron deficiency condition is very much prevalent in our Women and Children. Anemia is a condition that develops when human blood lacks enough healthy red cells and binds Oxygen. Fatigue - a symptom of Anemia occurs because organs get less oxygen, they need to function normally. Anemia is a common blood condition in human body not only in developing countries but also in the developed country like USA. Women, young children and people with chronic disease are at the increased risk of anemia. Public health has markedly improved in Bangladesh over the last two decades. Infant mortality, malnutrition and maternal mortality rates have all declined substantially. Nevertheless, Bangladesh faces major health challenges. Maternal mortality rate is yet to achieve the targeted rate.
It was observed and agreed that inadequate intake of dietary iron and other micronutrients, poor dietary diversity, infection, haemoglobiopathy (a genetic condition) and household food insecurity are considered as causes of anemia. A number of surveys have shown that anemia is a severe problem in Bangladesh. It is generally agreed that 50% of anemia cases are due to iron deficiency. However acute and chronic infections including malaria, cancer, tuberculosis and HIV can also lower the blood hemoglobin levels. The pressure of other micronutrient deficiencies including Vitamin 'A' and B-12, folate riboflabin and Copper, increase the risk of anemia. The main risk factors for non-iron deficiency anemia include low intake of iron, poor absorption of iron from diets. The periods when iron requirements are especially high such as periods of rapid growth during childhood and pregnancy iron should have adequate intake. Among other causes of anemia heavy blood loss during menstruation or due to a parasite infection, like hookworm are noteworthy.
Anemia has substantial negative effect upon health and economic wellbeing of the nations and communities from a broadeir punpecsirc. Children with anemia experience irrevocable cognitive and developmental delays and exhibit decreased working productivity as adults. Globally maternal anemia increases the risk of par term delivery and low birth weight and iron deficiency.
So it is agreed that as a developing country with vision to achieve the goal of middle income status Bangladesh must prevent anemia in children, women and all sections of people at large. It is a hindrance on the way of becoming a productive healthy country. To prevent anemia iron folic acid (IFA) supplements and increasing dietary diversity during pregnancy should be taken. Sleeping under a bednet, taking intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) for malaria, hand washing and taking deworming pills, regularly can work better. For infants, young children and mothers delayed clamping, sleeping under a bednet, exclusive breast feeding, adequate complementary feeding (including micronutrients) birth spacing and hand washing and treating malaria reduce the risk of becoming anemic and promote healthy growth.
Anemia is a preventable condition. Simple interventions can have a huge impact in this case. Multiple sectors can play a role in anemia prevention and treatment. Agricultural sector can undertake production of bio fortified and iron rich crops. Small livestock, poultry, fisheries can bring dietary diversity to increase nutritional shortfall. Health sector should take more initintives to improve this condition. Improve latrines, hand washing, ensuring access to clean and safe water, livestock management can also help. Education sector can play role in cauating health, hygiene and nutrition education. Above all media can play a very positive role through providing information on the causes of anemia and malnutrition with remedial suggestions in order to improve the situation. Mass media can motivate and sensitize people to improve the nutritional condition. Emphasis on food habit and health care should be put. In our country community radio can also address the issue of anemia and its adverse effect on health to aware people.
In Bangladesh human rights and welfare of the people are important concern for the government. Remarkable progress has been achieved in different sectors. Income generation has increased. People's health situation has improved and longevity increased. So the problems of malnutrition and anemia should also be addressed effectively as a part of national health initiatives. It may be hoped that along with government initiative, private sector and Non-government Organizations and development partners will also come forward to combat malnutrition and anemia. We can hope that Bangladesh will be completely a healthy and hard working nation very soon.
(PID Project Feature)