The Union health ministry announced a new scheme through which millions of children enrolled in government and public funded schools in the country will receive iron and folic acid tablets every week in order to combat anemia.
The scheme is expected to cost over Rs 135 crore and will cover over 60 million boys and girls studying in Classes VI to XII at government and aided schools while another 70 million out-of-school girls between 10 and 19 years of age will also be covered under the Integrated Child Development Scheme.
While health experts support the initiative, many believe that educating teachers, parents and children in order to prevent anemia should remain the main focus. "We could expect children with mild anemia to become non-anemic and those with moderate anemia to improve to mild anemia within months. But counseling teachers, parents and children in advance about occasional adverse effects --- such as stomach pain or nausea --- should be a crucial component of the program", professor of human nutrition at AIIMS, Umesh Kapil said.