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Govt Set to Draw First Blood in Battle to Beat Sickle Cell Anaemia by Screening 7 Cr People in Next 3.5 Years

By: Himani Chandna

Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta

News18.com

Last Updated: November 03, 2022, 08:30 IST

New Delhi, India

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic blood disorder where red blood cells contort into a sickle shape. Image/NHLBI

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic blood disorder where red blood cells contort into a sickle shape. Image/NHLBI

Under the National Health Mission, it aims to screen one crore people in the current financial year and two crore each in the following financial years, up to 2025-26. In order to digitalise the entire process, a centralised database will be maintained by all states under ABHA ID as unique identification

The Narendra Modi government has decided to screen 7 crore people in a mission mode for the genetic blood disorder sickle cell anaemia over the next three and a half years, News18.com has learnt.

With a focus on 17 selected states, the government has decided to adopt a “multifaceted” approach to tackle the prevalence of the disease and cover the population from zero to 40 years under the National Health Mission (NHM).

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic blood disorder where red blood cells contort into a sickle shape.

The disease affects the entire life of the patient and the issue has been taken up by the ministry of health and family welfare as well as the ministry of tribal affairs as a “critical issue requiring immediate focus”.

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“The health ministry is planning to initiate diagnosis, prevention and management of sickle cell problem in a mission mode covering the entire population from zero (0) to 40 years as a part of National Health Mission (NHM). I seek your full cooperation and support in this National endeavour for eliminating the disease and to promote prevention strategies,” says Roli Singh, mission director, NHM, in a letter sent to states and union territories, accessed by News18.com.

Also, since there was no central mechanism for capturing data on SCD burden in the country, Singh said that the ministry has also developed a sickle cell app and portal for real-time data entry provision, which will be shared with the states and union territories.

The NHM aims to cover 7 crore people for screening – to identify people with sickle cell disease – in the next three and a half years up to financial year 2025-26.

Its target is to screen one crore people in the current financial year and two crore each in the following financial years.

The focus will be on 17 states with higher prevalence of the disease: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, and Uttarakhand.

The letter sent by Singh to health secretaries, additional chief secretaries, and principal secretaries along with mission directors of all states and union territories has advised that the screening through the point-of-care (POC) test is more suitable in outreach camps, schools, and Anganwadis, among other options.

In order to digitise the entire process, Singh said that “a centralized database will be maintained by all states each screening case shall have ABHA- ID as unique identification. You are requested to utilise the new developments about the technologies available for diagnosis of sickle cell disease and the initiative of developing sickle cell portal."

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first published:November 03, 2022, 08:30 IST
last updated:November 03, 2022, 08:30 IST
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