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2018 people found with sickle cell anaemia traits during screening in one year

192 cases were also reported during the year in the state
Last Updated : 19 June 2024, 14:11 IST

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Mysuru: As many as 1344 people are diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) in Karnataka including 124 in Mysuru district, 71 in Chamarajnagar district, 112 in Kodagu, 200 in Chikkamagaluru, 382 in Dakshina Kannada district, 320 in Udupi and 135 in Uttara Kannada district.

Even as the State health department launched a comprehensive screening programme as part of National Sickle Cell Anemia (NSCA) Elimination Mission-2047 last year, with a target of testing 3,52,187 tribal people in the age group of 0 to 40 years by 2026, they have finished screening 55,503 people.

Among them as many a 2018 people are found with SCA traits including 636 in Mysuru, 915 in Chamarajanagar, 487 in Kodagu; and 192 SCA confirmed cases including 86 in Mysuru, 75 in Chamarajnagar and 31 in Kodagu districts.

SCA is found in 17 States in the Country including Karnataka among tribal population.

Deputy Director (Blood Safety), State Department of Health and Family Welfare Dr N Shakeela explained, "Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic, inherited/hereditary red blood cell disorder that impacts hemoglobin, the protein responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Normally, red blood cells are disc-shaped and flexible, allowing them to move easily through blood vessels. However, in sickle cell disease SCD, these cells become crescent or 'sickle'-shaped. This loss of flexibility leads to blockages in microcirculation or premature destruction of the cells. Consequently, this causes anemia, jaundice, painful crises, and damage to multiple organs, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, eyes, bones, and brain," she said.

Dr Shakeela added that, 'Sickle Cell' disease/gene is more prevalent in the tribal population, residing in rural areas, though it also occurs among others in small percentages. The prevalence of sickle cell carriers among different tribal groups varies, ranging from 1 to 40%. Hence the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, tribal health expert committee report has listed SCD as one of the 10 special problems that affect the tribal people, she said.

With the intention of detection, management, prevention and awareness on SCD, 'NSCA Elimination Mission-2047' was launched under National Health Mission on 1st July 2023. The programme is being implemented in 17 identified states, including Karnataka, to address the health challenges posed by SCD, particularly among the tribal population.

Priority has been given to 'Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)' identified by Union Government, including Jenukurubas, Koraga, followed by tribal communities such as Betta Kuruba, Beda, Yerava, Paniya, Eediga, and Nayaka due to the higher prevalence of SCD among them, Dr Shakeela said.

Dr Shakeela informed, "an online registry portal has been established for the registration of Sickle Cell Anemia patients. Those detected with SCD will receive a special genetic counseling card, which allows them to access specific benefits. These patients will receive free hydroxyurea tablets, symptomatic management, blood transfusion services, counseling services, and folic acid tablets at government hospitals. Sickle Cell Disease and variant sickle cell hemoglobinopathies are identified as disabilities with a minimum of 40% impairment, so these patients would be eligible for a UDID card. This card provides benefits such as a monthly pension and a 50% discount on public transport," she said.

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Published 19 June 2024, 14:11 IST

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