Iron deficiency anemia is the commonest medical disorder in pregnancy, adversely affecting maternal and fetal health. Despite several national programmes targeted at control and treatment of anemia during pregnancy, the success has not been as anticipated, since the majority of women present late.
Poor nutritional status and anemia in pregnancy have consequences that extend over generations. Girls born underweight are at risk of producing small, premature infants themselves. Adolescent anemia is easy to diagnose and easy to treat. Yet it is rampant and not being identified. Majority is not even aware of Hb or iron resulting in colossal economic and public health costs. Appropriate anemia control programme for adolescents do not exist in any country.
Keeping this in mind 12 by 12 initiative is being launched in the country today with an overall objective of ensuring that every child by the age of 12 years has hemoglobin of 12g%. This innovative initiative is jointly being taken by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India; WHO; FOGSI and UNICEF along with other partners. Awareness and correction of iron deficiency anemia during adolescence will go a long way in improving health of the future parents.
Anemia is a silent epidemic; however it is a preventable condition. 12 by 12 initiative for controlling adolescent anemia is an implementable, effective and sustainable nation building exercise with far reaching benefits in terms of safe motherhood and healthier future generations.