Are religion and caste giving Indian women anaemia?

Experts say India mostly suffers from nutritional anaemia, which is basically a deficiency of haemoglobin. Photo for representation: iStock

In 2020, when both Sunitha PR and her sister-in-law Anjali Kumar were pregnant they were found to be anaemic during a routine check-up at a primary healthcare centre in Bengaluru. Their doctor told them they were having iron-deficiency anaemia. While Sunitha’s haemoglobin level went as low as 9 gram/decilitre, Anjali's was found to be 10 gram/decilitre.

The standard haemoglobin range is generally defined as 13.2 to 16.6 grams (g) of haemoglobin per decilitre (dL) of blood for men and 11.6 to 15 g/dL for women.

After the diagnosis, both women were prescribed to take iron supplements and eat iron-rich foods like chicken liver in their meals. “Iron supplements and eating chicken liver and vegetables rich in iron helped us a lot and our haemoglobin level reached 11g/dL. We both gave birth to healthy babies — two months apart — in 2020,” says Sunitha.

Sunitha (28) and Anjali (27) — both homemakers — are two among millions of women in the country having anaemia.

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