Eradicating sickle cell disease, securing the future of India’s tribal communities

Source: The post is based on the article “Eradicating sickle cell disease, securing the future of India’s tribal communities” published in “Indian Express” on 4th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2- Issues related to Health

News: Recently, PM Modi launched the Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission.

What is Sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell is a genetic disorder in which a person’s red blood cells become distorted and take on a sickle-like shape. This disease is commonly found among tribal communities.

Sickle cell disease exists in two forms within the human body.

One is the Sickle Cell trait, in which the individual does not exhibit any disease or symptoms, and lives a normal life.

The second form is characterised by the presence of symptoms related to sickle cell disease.

If two individuals with Sickle Cell trait marry each other, there is a high probability that their child will have Sickle Cell disease.

How the government plans to eradicate sickle cell disease?

The government plans to eradicate sickle cell disease through two approaches.

The first approach focuses on prevention, ensuring that new cases are not born.

The second approach involves managing the treatment and providing adequate healthcare facilities for individuals already affected by the disease.

The government will provide for screening of individuals for Sickle Cell trait before marriage, to prevent the spread of the disease.

After screening, individuals will be provided with smart cards in their local language, enabling prospective partners to easily determine whether their future children will be affected by Sickle Cell disease or not.

Individuals identified with the disease through screening will undergo regular testing, receive treatment and medication, vaccinations for other diseases, get dietary support, and have access to timely counselling services.

Health and Wellness Centres established through the Ayushman Bharat scheme will also play a significant role.

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