20 Odisha dists record spike in severe anaemia in expectant mothers

The India Health of the Nation's States Report -2017 had identified iron-deficiency led anaemia as the top cause of years lived with disability among females in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: An anaemic future seems staring at Odisha! A whopping 20 districts in Odisha have recorded a big spike in the cases of severe anaemia in the expectant mothers. Severe anaemia in pregnant women in Odisha has seen a high of 42 per cent spurt in April-June 2018-19 vis-a-vis 2017-18.

Sample the enormity. The data available with the State Health Department here shows a total of around 8,884 expectant mothers from a total registered of around 5.58lakh were detected with severe anaemia during the period of April-June 2018-19.  The rate of severe anaemia among pregnant women in Odisha has been worked out at 159 per 10,000 expectant mothers.

An analysis shows the severe anaemic rate is apparently high in 2018-19. The anaemic story in Odisha is not a new trend. The India Health of the Nation’s States Report -2017 had identified iron-deficiency led  anaemia as the top cause of years lived with disability among females in Odisha.

The 2018-19 data shows that while only 10 districts have posted a decline in severe anaemic cases among the expectant mothers; whereas a high of 20 districts have recorded a spurt.

While Kalahandi has recorded the highest such anaemic cases (1,415) in the State, Balangir has posted a whopping 309 per cent rise in severe anaemia cases among pregnant women in the reference period vis-a-vis 2017-18. The district has recorded 736 such cases during Apr-Jun 2018-19 as compared to mere 180 cases in 2017-18.

A region wise analysis of data shows Nabrangpur district in southern Odisha was the worst hit. The cases zoomed by a high of 93 per cent rise to touch 1,097. Districts of Koraput and Malkangiri followed it. In western Odisha, Kalahandi topped the chart. Though cases are on the ascent in the region, the anaemic story is not conspicuous in Sundargarh and Sonepur. But Balangir and Sambalpur have recorded large number of such cases.

In northern Odisha, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj have reported a spurt in anaemic cases among pregnant women. The coastal region of State has also shown a rise in severe anaemic cases among expectant mothers in 2018-19. The Khurda district, State’s Headquarters, has seen a spurt in such cases by nearly six times to touch 312. The rise has been over three-times in Ganjam district.

What is Anaemia? Anaemia is a blood disorder where the levels of healthy red blood cells (RBCs) or the haemoglobin (Hgb), the iron-bearing protein in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to tissues throughout the body, fall below 11 grams/deci litre (g/dl). Severe anaemia means the Hgb quantity is less than 7g/dl. The fall out is it will lead to birth of low birth weight (LBW) babies and consequently record higher infant mortality rate (IMR), maternal mortality rate (MMR). As of now, Odisha has a poor show in IMR and MMR indicators. The State finished among the bottom-five in the country.

Significantly, it is the same districts in Odisha that had recorded higher number of infant mortality and birth of LBW babies in the reference period of 2018-19.