[Answered] “Anaemia among men in India is an important public health problem which is widely ignored.” Discuss.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Discuss the issue of anaemia among men, its causes, consequences and preventive measures.
Conclusion. Way forward.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines anaemia as a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meet physiological needs. A recent study published in The Lancet Global Health has observed that 23.5 % of men (15-54 years age group) in India are affected with anaemia. Population-based studies on anaemia in India have mostly focused on women and children whereas men with the anaemia have received much less attention despite its adverse effect on health and economic productivity.

Issue of anemia among men in India:

  1. An estimated 1.9 billion people (27%) in the world had anaemia in 2013 and 93% of these cases occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  2. The prevalence of anaemia in men varied widely between states, ranging from 9 % in Manipur (lowest) to 33 % in Bihar (highest).
  3. Higher prevalence has been observed for younger age groups.
  4. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia, although other conditions, such as folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin A deficiencies, chronic inflammation, parasitic infections, and inherited disorders can all cause anaemia.

Cause of anaemia among men in India:

  1. Illiteracy: Men with less education and those living in rural areas are more likely to have anaemia.
  2. Poverty: Less household wealth lead to unavailability of proper nutritional diets and lead to anaemia.
  3. Neglect: Men are branded as rough and tough in society. Health of men is often ignored and neglected especially in rural areas.
  4. Other factors: Factors such as consuming smokeless tobacco, being underweight, level of urbanisation and household wealth are associated with a higher probability of developing the disease.

Consequences of Anaemia Among Men:

  1. It can decrease productivity by causing fatigue, creating difficulty in concentrating, and lethargy.
  2. Although male anaemia does not affect the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition but it may reduce overall work performance and quality of life.
  3. It also lead to lack of harmony in family as men are irritated most of the time and show their anger on family.
  4. It put life of men in danger as fatigue may lead to unintended consequences like falling on working site from rooftop.

Preventive Measures:

  1. The distribution of iron tablets and food fortification with iron.
  2. Higher awareness about anaemia and various nutritional deficiencies.
  3. Health of men should not be ignored.
  4. Focus must be on Erving issues like hidden hunger.
  5. Men must be taught about bad effects of smoking that lead to less hunger and lead to other diseases.

The existing anaemia control measures in the country are majorly focussed on women and children. The inclusion of the males in the target population will help to eliminate anaemia completely from the country. In 2018, the government of India launched Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) as part of the Intensified National Iron Plus Initiative (NIPI) Program for accelerating the annual rate of decline of anaemia from one to three percentage points.

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