Chhattisgarh to host international meet on rare disease (Lead)

November 20th, 2010 - 12:11 am ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Nov 19 (IANS) Over 200 experts from across the world will meet here to discuss rising cases of “sickle-cell” blood disorder that has affected roughly 15-18 percent of Chhattisgarh’s population.

The six-day convention will begin Nov 22, an official said Friday. The Chhattisgarh government has organised it in association with the Sickle Cell Disease International Organisation.

“The basic intent is to draw attention to sickle cell disease as a rising public health problem in India,” said P.K. Patra, head of the Centre for Genetic Diseases and Molecular Biology.

Patra said sickle cell anaemia was a blood disorder caused by inherited abnormal haemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in the red blood cells.

Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the convention, which Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt, Chief Minister Raman Singh and Health Minister Amar Agrawal will also attend, a state government statement said Friday.

Experts and senior health officials of Indian states hit hard by sickle cell such as Orissa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat will also attend the convention.

Experts say that more than 50 percent of affected children die in Chhattisgarh before the age of five while many lose their lives in the prime of their youth.

The state government is screening people in the age group of 3-15 across the state to detect the disease early. Though the disorder is prevalent in all the 18 districts, it is alarming in 10.

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