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Significant milestone crossed – more than 1 crore screened for Sickle Cell Disease

A significant milestone has been crossed by the Health Ministry. More than 1 crore people have been screened for Sickle Cell Disease under the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission.

The Mission endeavors to screen 7 crore population in 3 years. Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disease which affects the whole life of the affected patient. It is more common in the tribal population of India but occurs in non-tribals too. The National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 1st July 2023 at Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh.

The program is being carried out in a mission mode for screening, prevention, and management of sickle cell anemia in all tribal and other high prevalent areas States/UTs of India. The focus is on 278 districts of 17 states with higher prevalence of SCD viz., Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar and Uttarakhand.

The National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission is an Indian initiative that was started to address the substantial health difficulties caused by sickle cell disease, particularly among the country’s tribal people. The program’s goal is to screen, prevent, and manage sickle cell anemia in high-prevalence areas in 17 states, with an emphasis on early identification and treatment.

It is used in tribal and other high-prevalence regions for screening, prevention, and therapy of sickle cell anemia. In three and a half years, the project hopes to reach 7 crore individuals with screening, preventative counseling, and sickle cell disease care.

The initiative is led by a number of government officials, including the Minister of Health and Family Welfare and the Minister of State for Tribal Affairs. Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood ailment that causes hemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen throughout the body, to malfunction.

Symptoms

Sickle cell anemia is characterized by the formation of abnormally shaped red blood cells. Sickle cell anemia symptoms vary from person to person and might alter over time. Typical symptoms include:

  • Anemia: Anemia occurs when there are less red blood cells present in the body due to the short lifespan or elimination of sickled cells. Dizziness, shortness of breath, and weariness are all symptoms of severe anemia.
  • Pain crisis or sickle crisis: This occurs when the flow of blood to a region is restricted because to sickled cells being trapped. The pain can occur anywhere, although it is most commonly felt in the chest, arms, and legs.
  • Swelling of hands and feet: Sickle-shaped red blood cells can block blood circulation, leading to swelling in the hands and feet.
  • Fatigue or fussiness: Anemia can cause tiredness and irritability.
  • Yellowish color of the skin (jaundice) or the whites of the eyes (icterus): This can be a sign of liver problems related to sickle cell anemia.

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