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In Bihar Schools, Student-Gardeners Improve Nutrition, Health Metrics



Students of Jalalgarh middle school in Purnia district, in eastern Bihar, queue up to wash hands before eating their mid-day meals, November 21, 2019
Purnia, Bihar: When she grows up, 14-year-old Amita Kumari wants to become a police officer just like her mother. The class eight student of a government middle school in Kasba, a town in eastern Bihar’s Purnia district, knows that she needs to be “strong” in order to become a police officer. At 5 feet 3 inches, Amita, whose height is ideal for her age as per the World Health Organisation standards, is an exception in her class. A majority of her classmates are shorter than her. “I used to dislike vegetables earlier,” Amita said, “but now I eat a lot of them because I want to grow strong.” Amita changed her diet after her school teacher started taking a class on the importance of dietary fruits and vegetables, and when she started helping to maintain a vegetable garden in the school backyard. “They taught us how to grow our own…
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India’s Fight Against Anaemia Is Picking Up Pace, States Have To Do More



Faridabad, Haryana and New Delhi: It was past 2 p.m. Khusbu Chaudhari, 24, seven months pregnant, was lying on a bed in the general ward at the Ballabhgarh Government Hospital in Haryana’s Faridabad. A thin plastic bag with her medical file lay next to her.
Seven days before, when Chaudhari had first visited the hospital after moving here from her mother’s home in Mumbai, her haemoglobin was 8.2 gm/dL--much below the normal range (12-16 gm/dL) for women. This meant she had moderate anaemia--which, during pregnancy, can be very risky for her and her child.
A health assistant herself, Chaudhari did not want to take chances--she had an emergency caesarean section in 2017 when her first child was born.
Her doctor prescribed three doses of intravenous iron sucrose--a new strategy to treat iron-deficiency anaemia during pregnancy, under the Centre’s Anaemia Mukt Bharat initiative. The day we visited the hospital, Chaudhari was given her second dose at noon, and was under observa…