Primary education dept waits for review to change mid-day meal iron capsules

The Department of Primary Education has finally changed the iron capsules to be given to students in government schools with mid-day meals under the Shaleya Poshan Ahar Yojana and is awaiting the review of the new capsules.

Zeal and Innovation in Medicine (ZIM), the company manufacturing the new iron folic acid (IFA) capsules has claimed that they have no side effects and is more efficient. "The distribution of these capsules was started in August and will continue till February 2011. This capsule has to be given to students in the 11-18 age group every alternate day," said Omkar Bole, brand manager, Zim Laboratories.

The Yashvantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) had reviewed the mid-day meal scheme and suggested introduction of iron capsules last year. The government introduced the iron capsules in 2009-'10, but they had to be stopped after finding that they had side effects. ZIM was asked to produce the capsules later.

The teachers are expected to monitor the intake of these capsules. It has been observed that around 50 per cent students are anaemic owing to deficiency of haemoglobin that happens due to deficiency of iron. "The iron capsules will be administered for 100 days and a review will be submitted to the state government," Bole said.

Yashada had organised a two-day training session on Thursday and Friday for district education superintendents about administering the iron capsules to students. "We have completed training of superintendents of Vidarbha, Marathwada, Konkan, Western Maharashtra and Khandesh. Various queries raised by them have been answered with professional help and they are now better trained to ensure success of the Shaaley Poshan Aahar Yojana," said Shashikanth Waidande, officer on special duty human development centre, YASHADA. The Union Human Resources Department Ministry had sanctioned Rs 16,579 lakh in 2009-'10 towards the mid-day meal scheme, expected to benefit around 42 lakh children across the state.

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