Sickle cell anaemia grips 18 percent of Chhattisgarh’s people

September 5th, 2009 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, Sep 5 (IANS) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Saturday said his government has planned to pump in massive funds to detect carriers and patients hit by genetic disorder sickle cell anaemia.
“Sickle cell anaemia has gripped some 18 percent of the state’s 20 million plus population. We need to act fast to detect patients and carriers at their early ages and to treat them,” Singh told IANS.

Sickle cell anaemia disorder is an inherited genetic lifelong blood disorder characterised by red blood cells assuming an abnormal, rigid, sickle shape. It decreases the cell’s flexibility and results in a risk of serious complications.

The disorder occurs due to a mutation in the haemoglobin gene. Life expectancy among patients is substantially shortened.

“We have a scheme called Chhattisgarh Sickle Cell Screening Project to take blood samples of children in the age group of 3 to 15 years,” Singh said. “It has screened 200,000 people in Raipur district but the screening has to be hastened in all 18 districts to detect sickle cell carriers and patients to provide them counselling on how transmission of this disease can be prevented.”

Singh said the state government will put more money to help patients who are from poor families.

The Chhattisgarh government has set up the Centre for Genetic Diseases and Molecular Biology to control the disease. It is implementing the project and spreading awareness.

“I have been persuading the central government to open a central research institute for sickle cell in Chhattisgarh that has become the nucleus of the disorder in India. The disease has really attained alarming proportions,” said Singh, who is heading the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state since December 2003.

Health officials say the situation is alarming in 10 of the 18 districts that have a high population of Other Backward Class (OBC) and tribal citizens. The disorder is very common among them.

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