Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Even as the world will be observing the International Women's Day on March 8 with the theme "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world," are the women who constitute nearly half of the population of Odisha are hale enough to lead the society?

The statistics, however, graph a shocker for Odisha.

As per the latest data (during the first half of 2020-21) available with National Health Mission (NHM) Odisha, when a whopping 61 per cent of expectant mothers in the State are anaemic, a high of three in every 5 patients admitted to hospitals (inpatients) across the State are females.

The big distressing home-truth is more than half of the deaths among the inpatients in the various hospitals in Odisha are females.


In the first half of the financial year 2020-21, a whopping 61 per cent of the pregnant mothers in Odisha are anaemic, the data reveals.

As per the statistics, a massive 1.229 lakh of a total of 1.997 lakh pregnant women registered in different ante-natal clinics in Odisha have been diagnosed with anaemia.

But the news of comfort is expectant mothers suffering from acute anaemia in the State stood at a mere 2,531.

Proportionally seen, when 61 per cent of pregnant women in Odisha are anaemic, the acute anaemic proportion in the State stood at a mere around 1.3 per cent.    


From a total of over 7.06 lakh hospitalisations (inpatients) in Odisha, a high of over 63 per cent or around 4.45 lakh are females, the data with the State Health department reveals.

Big Statistics: In the period of April-June 2020, the total deaths that occurred during hospitalisations in the State stood at around 6,355. And women death count stood at 2,542 or over 40 per cent as against 2,205 males- which is only 34.7 per cent of total deaths during hospitalisations.

A total of 223 deaths had been recorded during childbirth during the above mentioned period, the data reveals.


"Though more hospitalisation instances in females are related to birth-related cases, it has, however, been observed that increased women hospitalisations were also recorded in other disease conditions like asthma, TB and gastric disorders etc. The high morbidity among females is majorly due to nutritional deficiency, which is a societal gender discrimination issue," observed Dr Niranjan Mishra, Director, Public Health.

As per senior State health officials, the high anaemia proportion in pregnant women in Odisha is due to nutritional deficiency (lack of vitamin B12 and folate (Vit B9)).


Though a high of around 20 districts in Odisha have recorded a rise in the cases of anaemia in expectant mothers, the spike is high in 12 districts.

When it comes to cases of acute anaemia, as many as 9 districts in the State had posted a rise in cases of acute anaemia among pregnant mothers in 2020. The districts are Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Jharsuguda, Kendrapara, State Headquarters Khordha, Koraput, Nayagarh, Sambalpur and Sundargarh.

The anaemic story in Odisha is not a new trend. Even, 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.


This 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/decilitre (g/dl). And severe anaemia means the Hgb quantity is less than 7g/dl.

The fall out is this deficiency leads to the birth of low birth weight (LBW) babies, and consequently, this is the reason behind the higher infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the State.

As of now, Odisha has a poor show in IMR and MMR indicators in the country. The State still languishes in the bottom-five in the country.

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