Recently, Sickle cell anaemia (SCA), a genetic blood disorder, found mention in the Budget this year. Finance Minister said that the government will work in “mission mode” to eliminate the condition by 2047. India is the second-worst affected country in terms of predicted births with SCA — i.e. chances of being born with the condition.
GS II: Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- Sickle Cell Anaemia
- Indian Government Initiatives to reduce Sickle Cell Anaemia
Sickle Cell Anaemia
- Haemoglobin which is tasked with carrying oxygen to all parts of the body, has four protein subunits — two alpha and two beta.
- In some people, mutations in the gene that creates the beta subunits impact the shape of the blood cell and distorts it to look like a sickle.
- A round red blood cell can move easily through blood vessels because of its shape but sickle red blood cells end up slowing, and even blocking, the blood flow.
- Moreover, sickle cells die early, resulting in a shortage of red blood cells that deprive the body of oxygen.
- These obstructions and shortages may cause chronic anaemia, pain, fatigue, acute chest syndrome, stroke, and a host of other serious health complications.
- Without treatment, quality of life is compromised and severe cases can become fatal in the initial years of life.
The symptoms of sickle cell anaemia can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:
- Painful episodes (sickle cell crisis)
- Fatigue and weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Delays in growth and development
- Joint pain
- frequent infections
Currently, there is no cure for sickle cell anaemia, but treatments are available to manage the symptoms and prevent complications.
- Pain management
- Blood transfusions
- Antibiotics to prevent infections
- Hydoxyurea, a medication to reduce the frequency of sickle cell crises
- Stem cell transplantation in some cases
Indian Government Initiatives to reduce Sickle Cell Anaemia
- The Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Rural Health Mission in different States are undertaking outreach programmes for better management and control of the disease.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched a portal wherein people can register themselves if they have the disease or the trait, in order to collate all information related to SCA among tribal groups.
- In the Budget, the Union Health Minister said the government plans to distribute “special cards” across tribal areas to people below the age of 40.
- The cards will be divided into different categories based on the screening results.
- The mission will receive funding under the National Health Mission.
-Source: The Hindu