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English Release 6-March 2015
Date Month Year
  • President's Secretariat
  • Press Communique

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Ministry of Health and Family Welfare24-April, 2012 18:18 IST
Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation Programme for adolescents


The Government has decided to implement the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) Programme for adolescents.           WIFS Programme is based on the empirical evidence that weekly supplementation of 100mg Iron and 500µg Folic acid is effective in decreasing prevalence of anaemia in adolescent age group. The programme is free of cost and Iron and Folic Acid deworming tablet, along with testing and counselling services would be provided completely free.

The progamme will be implemented in both rural and urban areas and will cover school going adolescent girls and boys from 6th to 12th class enrolled in government/government aided/municipal schools through the platform of Schools and out of school adolescent girls through the platform of Aganwadi centers.


This programme will cover approximately 13 Crore beneficiaries and will address the challenge of high prevalence and incidence of anaemia amongst adolescent girls and boys (10-19 years). Modalities of implementation  are as below: 

-          Administration of supervised free Weekly Iron-folic Acid Supplements of 100mg elemental iron and 500µg Folic acid to target population. 

-          Fixed day strategy under which preferably Monday to be declared as “Anaemia Control day” or “WIFS day”.

-          Screening of target groups for moderate/severe anaemia and referring these cases to an appropriate health facility.

-          Biannual de-worming (Albendazole 400mg), six months apart, for control of helminthes infestation.

-          Information and counselling for improving dietary intake and for taking actions for prevention of intestinal worm infestation.

-          Convergence with key stakeholder Ministries like Ministry of Women and child Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development. 

Adolescent Anaemia has been a long standing problem in India and the  country has a high prevalence.  However, there has been a 5% decline in incidence of anemia amongst adolescents between National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-II (1998-99) and  National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-III (2005-06).


        The prevalence of anaemia  (Haemoglobin value of <12 g% in girls and Haemoglobin value  of  < 13g% in boys) is high amongst adolescents as per the report of  NFHS-III and the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau Survey.


        It is estimated that more than 5 Crores adolescents are anaemic in India.


        According to NFHS -III data, over 55 % of adolescent boys and girls in the age group of 15-19 years are anaemic. Adolescent girls in particular are more vulnerable to anaemia due to the rapid growth of the body and loss of blood during menstruation. According to NFHS-III, almost 56% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 years suffer from some form of anaemia. Of these, 39% are mildly anaemic while 15% and 2% suffer from moderate and severe anaemia respectively.  In India, the highest prevalence of anaemia is reported between the ages 12-13 years, which also coincides with the average age of menarche. With increase in age, the prevalence of anaemia among girls remains almost stagnant, while among boys, the prevalence rate reduces.


        The reasons for anaemia amongst adolescents are:


- Growth spurt leading to increased demandof Iron  in the body

-  Poor dietary intake of Iron

- Worm infestation and high rate of infection

- Increased loss of Iron due to onset of menstruation (in girls)


             The above information was laid in the Rajya  Sabha today by the  Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad.



(Release ID :82516)

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