Anaemia, poor weight gain among pregnant women in rural areas still a cause for concern, says Tamil Nadu DPH

March 07, 2024 11:47 pm | Updated March 09, 2024 10:59 am IST - CHENNAI

Anaemia and poor weight gain among pregnant women in rural areas remain a cause for concern for public health officials.

According to T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health (DPH) and Preventive Medicine, at least 50% of women covered under the ‘First 1,000 Days of Life’ initiative, who visit Primary Health Centres (PHC), do not meet the required haemoglobin and weight criteria.

Ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8), the director stressed the need to ensure the health of women. “The two criteria [haemoglobin and weight] indicate the kind of antenatal care they are receiving to ensure safe motherhood. These indicators help us to pick up women who are in need of attention. A woman should gain at least nine kg of weight from the start of pregnancy to have a healthy baby. Maintaining ideal body weight and haemoglobin remain a challenge,” he said.

Roughly, 37,000 pregnant women in 23 blocks that have poor maternal and child health indicators are covered under the initiative, Dr. Selvavinayagam said.

The aim of the scheme is to ensure proper nutrition of pregnant women and newborns (up to two years of age). “Ensuring safe motherhood will pave the way for a safe delivery free from infections, and the growth/development of baby and healthy adolescence,” Dr. Selvavinayagam said.

When a woman reaches her middle age, she should come for compulsory health screening, but this remains a low priority, he added. Whether with family or at the workplace, women should be encouraged for periodic screening. “Lifestyle management for maintaining an ideal Body Mass Index and screening is important. Family has the responsibility to take care of the women in the house, be it a mother, a wife, a sister or a daughter,” he said.

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