Mission to eradicate sickle cell anaemia gives fresh hope for Kerala tribals

Neenu Mohan

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Kalpetta: The union government in the budget for the financial year 2023-24 has announced a mission to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047. It will entail awareness creation, universal screening of seven crore people in the age group of 0-40 years in affected tribal areas and counselling through collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments.

Camps to test for sickle cell anaemia in tribal villagers in the states were last held in 2014.

Welcoming the mission announced by the central government, National Alliance of Sickle Cell Anaemia Organisations president Saraswathi said that patients should also be involved to elucidate the physical conditions and social situations relating to the disease.

Dr M Santhosh Kumar of Kozhikode general hospital said that sickle cell anaemia patients have not got the special care that has to be provided to them. Wide testing should be conducted and patients should be provided with comprehensive care packages, Kumar added.

The proposed Comprehensive Hemoglobinopathy Research and Care Centre for research on sickle cell anaemia treatment by the state government at Boys Town in Mananthavady was limited to the outline.

It may be noted that the state government is providing Rs 2,500 for tribals through ITDP and Rs 2,000 for others through the Social Justice Department.

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