The Madurai-based Dhan Foundation has begun a campaign for testing one lakh students for anaemia before the end of the current academic year.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, its Executive Director M.P. Vasimalai said that more people would be reached with funds raised through the upcoming fourth edition of the Madurai Marathon scheduled for Saturday.

The purpose of the event was to raise funds to combat anaemia. Of the foundation’s target of one lakh, around 10,000 students have already been screened, he said.

Adolescents, particularly rural girls, in India have high rates of anaemia. Instance of anaemia were also found under among pregnant women, thereby endangering their unborn child. The Foundation has been conducting BCC (behaviour change communication) to address the issue and the results have been positive.

The campaign also advocated changes in diet, hygiene, sanitary habits and the need to wear footwear. The Foundation was working with the State government to combat anaemia and a campaign was underway at five blocks in five districts, he said.

Speaking later, M. Santhanam, event coordinator, said anaemia affected the student’s studies and resulted in other health complications. Through this marathon, the Foundation aimed to create more awareness among the public and generate resources for action programmes.

Several events have been planned for the marathon, one of which is the half marathon that would be held separately for boys and girls. This event alone would entail a registration fee and all participants would be tested for medical fitness on Friday evening at Tamukkam ground.

B. Raghini, also an event coordinator, elaborated about the previous three editions of the Madurai Marathon.

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