Schoolchildren to be given iron and folic acid tablets every Monday

Annie Shiely B. and Sharoon Rani S., eighth standard students of St. Joseph’s Convent Girls High School in Fraser Town here, were administered iron and folic acid tablets by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday, which marked the beginning of the Union government’s Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) programme.

Salman N. from Featherlite Party Town Government High School near Coles Park and his friend Sanjay T., who were also part of the group of seven students who were given the tablets on Wednesday, were thrilled to be known that they were the first beneficiaries of the scheme.

These children are among the 34 lakh students of government and aided schools, and nearly 15 lakh out-of-school adolescent girls in the State, who will benefit under the programme.

To reduce the prevalence and severity of anaemia while also controlling it among the adolescent population, the Union government has initiated the programme under the National Programme for the Control and Prevention of Anaemia in adolescents.

Mr. Azad, who, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, launched the programme, said that children in the 10-19 age group from government and aided schools and out-of-school adolescent girls would be administered the tablets every week. He urged teachers and anganwadi workers to ensure that the children do not miss their weekly dose.

He said that the Centre’s restructured school health programme planned to address the health needs of schoolchildren and adolescents in the 6-18 age group in government and government-aided schools would be launched in the State shortly.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said: “We will ensure that every health scheme of the Union government will be taken up with all seriousness and successfully implemented in the State.”

Health Minister U.T. Khader said that recruitment of doctors for the school health programme was on, and two teams (comprising two doctors and nurses each) will be set up in every taluk for the programme.

“This programme entails biannual health screening and early management of disease, disability and common deficiencies in children,” he added.