Government iron supplement lands 21 Delhi students in hospital

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 18, 2013 21:32 hrs

New Delhi: At least 21 school children were admitted to various hospitals and 200 others complained of nausea in the capital Thursday after consuming folic acid and iron supplements given to them under a government scheme, police said.

The tablets which were given to children under the state government's Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation Programme (WIFS).

"Twenty one children were brought to seven hospitals with mild symptoms of stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, loose stool and metallic taste," said Health Minister A.K. Walia.

The students, aged 10-12 years, of two Sarvodaya schools in West Delhi's Bharat Nagar and Ashok Vihar in north Delhi area took ill Wednesday after consuming the supplements.

"None of the patients was reported to be in serious condition. The symptoms started appearing after about two hours of take the tablets. The affected children remained in hospitals for about five-six hours and were discharged after treatment," added Walia.

Under the government programme, 18 lakh tablets were distributed Wednesday.

"World-wide these symptoms are documented to be experienced in the initial doses of iron and folic acid tablets in about one percent of people. However, in case of Delhi, 0.01 percent of the total beneficiaries have reported these common mild side effects which is well within the acceptable levels," Walia said.

While eight children were admitted to Sunder Lal Jain Hospital in north Delhi, seven were taken to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in east Delhi, two in Jag Pravesh Chander Hospital in east Delhi, two in Hindu Rao Hospital in north Delhi, one in Hedgewar Aorgya Sansthan Hospital in east Delhi and one in B.R. Ambedkar hospital in east Delhi.

Other children were attended to by doctors in the schools.

A case has been registered and investigation is on, a police officer added.

"We carried out stomach wash of the students besides normal medical treatment. We are examining why the eight students fell ill," said Subhash Aggarwal, medical superintendent of Sunder Lal Jain Hospital.

The scheme to provide iron and folic acid tablets to students was kicked off Wednesday to improve their health. Under the programme, all adolescent students from Class 6-12 in government and government-aided schools will be given iron and folic acid tablets once a week.

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