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Feeding India | March 21, 2024 | 3 min(s) read
Anaemia Mukt Bharat:  Building a Healthier Future for India

World Health Organization (n.d) defines ‘Anaemia as a condition in which the number of red blood cells (RBC) or the haemoglobin (HB) concentration within them is lower than normal’. Deficiency in RBC results in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness and shortness of breath, among others. According to National Family Health Survey -5 (2019-2021) data, 57% of women (15-49 years), 59.1 % of adolescent girls, and 52.2% of pregnant women in India are anaemic (PIB 2022; MoHFW 2019-2021). The adverse effects on women especially at the reproductive and adolescent stages results in increased morbidity, and maternal death (Sharif, Das, & Alam 2023). Further anaemia can reduce the work capacity and productivity; hindering the socio-economic growth and development of women (WHO 2023). Thus, addressing anaemia for this demographic is important for improving the overall quality of life and breaking the intergenerational poverty cycle. 

The Government of India (GoI) has launched numerous initiatives such as Anemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) in 2018 to reduce anaemia among vulnerable groups such as women, children and adolescents. The AMB initiative increased the accessibility and coverage of Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation for all beneficiary groups – pregnant women from 78% to 90%; lactating mothers from 34% to 49%; school-going adolescent girls from 23% to 40%; out-of-school adolescent girls from 6% to 23%, and children 6–59 months from 7% to 15% (Joe et al. 2022). 

To complement the efforts of the Government of India, Feeding India is providing 1.20 lakh mid-day meals daily to over 90,000 beneficiaries across 100+ cities through its Daily Feeding Program (DFP). One of our DFP partner schools, Shree Navchetan Manav Vikas Mandir School, which provides education for tribal children from the southeastern region of Gujarat, recently,  conducted periodic anaemia testing among the students. They observed a significant reduction in anaemia cases over six months (from July 23 to Jan 24). Of the 162 students who underwent HB level testing, the number of students with HB levels below 11gm/DL decreased from 121 to 34 during this period, marking a remarkable 70% decrease in anaemia prevalence. 

This positive outcome highlights the effectiveness of the DFP interventions in combating anaemia and reiterating Feeding India’s sustained efforts in promoting nutrition and health among school-going children. Addressing anemia outcomes would be critical for a brighter future for our country, lets pledge to raise awareness about anemia and strive for an anaemia-free India. 


  1. Press Information Bureau (PIB) 2022, Anemia Mukt Bharat, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  2. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) (2019-2021), National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) 2019-21, Government of India
  3. World Health Organization (WHO) n.d, Anaemia, WHO, viewed 20 March 2024
  4. Sharif, N, Das, B, & Alam, A 2023, ‘Prevalence of anaemia among reproductive women in a different social group in India: Cross-sectional study using nationally representative data’, PLoS One, vol.18, no. 2
  5. World Health Organization (WHO) 2023, Anaemia, WHO, viewed 20 March 2024
  6. Joe, W, Rinju, Patel, N, Alambusha, R, Kulkarni, B, Yadav, K, & Sethi, V 2022, ‘Coverage of iron and folic acid supplementation in India: progress under the Anemia Mukt Bharat strategy 2017-20’, Health Policy and Planning, Vol 7, no. 5

Authors: Disha Kouli and Glaison Cherian

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