To estimate the iron-deficiency anaemia in east Delhi, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) on Friday launched a programme to assess the health of 50,000 school children in the area. The six-month long ‘Suposhan’ programme was initiated by the EDMC in association with NGO HEAL foundation and Britannia Nutrition Foundation. It will cover about 90 schools run by the EDMC in 45 areas of east Delhi. Children will be assessed for various health parameters and for iron-deficiency, following which they will be de-wormed. The initiative will also spread awareness among the parents about the symptoms and hazards of anaemia and measures to counter it. Launching the programme here at the EDMC headquarters, educational committee chairperson Harish Malhotra said: ‘The population in east Delhi mainly belongs to the weaker socio-economic class and the programme is intended to reach out to this section.’
Underlying the need for such initiatives, Municipal Commissioner S.S Yadav said the main purpose of the project is to identify anaemic children and subsequently de-worm them. ‘Children diagnosed with the disease will be provided iron fortified biscuits each day during this period. The parents will also be sensitized about the health hazards of the disease,’ he said. Dr Sanjeev Bagai, CEO and dean of Radiant Lifecare, said about 47 percent of children under five years suffer from some form of malnutrition, in which 17 percent are severely affected. ‘It is a myth that only poor and underprivileged children suffer from malnutrition. Chubby and apparently healthy children from privileged section are equally susceptible,’ he said. The project will be formally initiated from April 3. R. Shankar, president, HEAL foundation, said the project is tailored to meet specific needs of the pre-identified community and it would set a model to be replicated for countering other disease in the country.