Reassessing Anaemia Rates in India: Dr. Anura Kurpad's Study

An image depicting anemia sporangia, relevant to the discussion on reassessing anaemia rates in India as per Dr. Anura Kurpad's study
Reassessing Anaemia Rates in India: Dr. Anura Kurpad's Study

A collaborative study led by Dr. Anura Kurpad from St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru, challenges previous surveys, suggesting an overestimation of anaemia prevalence in India. Unlike the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) methodology, which uses a finger prick-based capillary blood method, this study involved 4,613 participants across eight states and utilized venous blood to measure haemoglobin and iron status.

Study Participants:

  • Adolescents: 647 girls and 674 boys
  • Adults: 931 women and 927 men
  • Elderly: 714 women and 720 men

Institutions Involved:

  • St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru (lead institution)
  • ICMR-NIN, Hyderabad
  • Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi
  • CSIR-IGIB, New Delhi
  • CSIR-CCMB, Hyderabad
  • Banaras Hindu University
  • KEM Hospital, Pune

Capillary Blood vs. Venous Blood:

The study highlights the discrepancies between capillary and venous blood measurements, with capillary blood often underestimating haemoglobin levels due to plasma-skimming and dilution from tissue fluid mixing.

WHO Recommendation:

The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends diagnosing anaemia using venous blood estimations, aligning with this study's methodology.

Preprint Status:

The study's results are in preprint, awaiting peer review for validation.

Significance of the Study:

Accurate anaemia prevalence estimation is crucial for effective public health strategies, as overestimation may lead to misallocation of resources.

Important Facts for Exams:

  • Anaemia is characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin, resulting in reduced oxygen-carrying capacity.
  • Common causes include iron and vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic diseases, and genetic disorders.
  • Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Prevalent among women of reproductive age, pregnant women, and young children in India.
  • This study's findings could significantly impact public health policies and interventions related to anaemia in India, emphasizing the importance of accurate prevalence data for effective planning.

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