The ongoing ‘Nari Swasthya Janandolan Yatra – Anaemia National Ride’ organised by the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) is part of Dr Hrishikesh Pai’s ‘Badlaav’ Campaign that aims to bring holistic health awareness in Indian women, especially anaemia prevention. The Yatra was started from Rishikesh, Uttarakhand on 28th November 2022, and will cover 5 states and over 20 cities, culminating at Kolkata in the first week of January 2023.
Speaking on organising ‘Nari Swasthya Janandolan Yatra – Anaemia National Ride’, Dr Hrishikesh D Pai, President, FOGSI said, “Taking the mission and vision of FOGSI of advocating and promoting women’s health and reproductive rights forward and considering the dire need of spreading awareness on anaemia amongst women, we have organised the Yatra that will cover 5 states and over 20 cities of India. Mitigating anaemia in India needs a multi-level approach that includes a high level of awareness building, behaviour change communication and challenging societal norms related to women’s nutrition and health needs. This Yatra is part of my Badlaav (Change) – a corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign focused on advocacy for all aspects of women’s health. The concept is defined by the integration of information, equality in treatment and technology to be accessible for all. Badlaav Clinics will provide free health examinations for women on the 18th of every month.”
Deciphering the layers of the Yatra, Dr Pai added, “The objective of this one-of-its-kind Yatra is to spread awareness about prevention and treatment of increasing prevalence of Anaemia in the country and to bring holistic health awareness among women, emphasising respectful maternal care, enhancing vaginal birth, breastfeeding, fertility preservation, genetic screening, infertility treatment, vaccination, cancer screening, NCDs (diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, Vitamin D, thyroid), PCOS, endometriosis, routine health check-ups, contraception, MTP, sexual dysfunction, heavy periods, mental health, gender equality, midlife/menopause, obesity and anti-ageing.”
I started this journey on 28th November at the auspicious banks of the Ganga River at Rishikesh. The bus and video van with a large screen showing health messages and videos was unveiled and flagged off by Ms Karishma Kapoor. The Yatra was formally launched at Dehradun at the hands of Uttarakhand BJP Chief Minister Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami as well as BJP Health Minister Dr Dhan Singh Rawat.
In the last 2 weeks, 7 cities have been covered with over 1100+ km and 50+ hours of road drive including Rishikesh, Dehradun, Ghaziabad/Khora Makanpur, Meerut, Aligarh, Agra and Kanpur. Health camps were organized at AIIMS Rishikesh, Yashoda Hospital Ghaziabad, Rajendra Nagar Urban PHC Meerut, JN Medical College of AMU Aligarh, SN Medical College Agra and GSVM Medical College Kanpur. Thousands of women have benefited so far from this, and there are 14 more cities to go that will complete the whole Yatra spanning 5 states of Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal upto early January 2023. Conducting medical camps, public forums and academic activities will be part of the Yatra. Bringing awareness about the holistic health of women through various channels during the Yatra will be the driving motto.
In Ghaziabad/Khora Makanpur, BJP Minister of State, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and MP Gen. Dr VK Singh sent his video message and Addl. Secretary Ministry of Education Shri Santosh Kumar Yadav joined us. In Meerut, BJP MP Shri Rajendra Agarwal and BJP MLA Shri Somendra Tomar were present. The Vice Chancellor of AMU Prof Mohd Gulrez in Aligarh, Senior UP State Lgbt representative Ms Devika in Agra and BJP MLC Shri Arun Pathak in Kanpur joined the programs with full vigour amongst many other dignitaries. Gynaecologists from all cities actively participated under the respective Societies led by Dr. Arti Luthra, Dr. Jyoti Sharma (Dehradun); Dr. Somna Mittal, Dr. Gunjan Gupta (Ghaziabad/Khora Makanpur); Dr. Usha Sharma, Dr. Bharti Maheshwari (Meerut), Dr. Seema Hakim (Aligarh); Dr. Narendra Malhotra, Dr. Jaideep Malhotra, Dr. Sushma Gupta (Agra); and Dr. Meera Agnihotri, Dr. Usha Goenka (Kanpur).
Anaemia is a major public health concern in India. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) data, 1 in every 2 women in India is anaemic and the prevalence is around 57 per cent in non-pregnant women and 52 per cent in pregnant women. Moreover, anaemia in women has worsened in the past half a decade across most states in India. Lately, the survey has brought out that as many as 66.4% of women suffered from anaemia. The high prevalence anaemia states are Jharkhand (65%), West Bengal (62.5%), and Bihar (60.3%).
Besides anaemia, women face numerous health issues in their life. However, the majority of Indian women are in the habit of ignoring their health issues. The complications are faced by them in different age groups from adolescent age to pregnancy and menopause. One of the underlying reasons behind the common health issues women are up against is the lack of awareness, which needs to be spread across the country.