Maharashtra: To Curb Sickle Cell Anemia, State To Guide Patients On Marriage

Maharashtra: To Curb Sickle Cell Anemia, State To Guide Patients On Marriage

According to the directive given by the central government, a 'genetic card' will now be made available in Maharashtra to register the patients of this disease

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 10:25 PM IST
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Mumbai: The state health department has now expanded the scope of medical treatment provided to patients with the inclusion of prevention of sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder and genetic disease. According to the directive given by the central government, a 'genetic card' will now be made available in Maharashtra to register the patients of this disease. As on February 12, the state had more than 15,000 sickle cell anemia patients. The national sickle cell anemia elimination mission is being implemented in 17 high prevalence states, including Maharashtra.

The genetic card will contain the records of carriers, suspects and general patients of this disease. The counsellor will accordingly guide the selection of the partner according to the medical condition of the person with sickle cell disease, taking into account the possibility of the disease spreading in the next generation, said a senior official.

Aim to eliminate disease before 2047

The initiative is in line with the objective of eliminating the disease before 2047. The campaign focuses on screening of seven crore population in the age range of zero to 40 years and premarital and preconception genetic counselling. According to the health official, pneumococcal vaccines will be given to such patients possessing the card. “More than 40% of sickle cell sufferers have sickle hemoglobin hence they are at increased risk of bacterial infection, joint pain, chronic pain and organ failure,” explained the official.

The campaign focuses on universal screening of all individuals up to 40 years of age using a mass screening approach. The state has the flexibility to either follow a one-step approach (using government approved point of care tests as a one-step confirmatory test) or two-step plan (initial screening using solubility test and then confirmation using government approved point of care tests), added the official.

As per the data, 27.25 lakh people have been tested for sickle cell disease in the state, which is more than the target of 24.6 lakh persons. Screening tests include a free solubility test and HPLC tests for definitive diagnosis of sickle cell. Gadchiroli has the highest number of such patients with a total of 4,193, followed by 2,634 in Nagpur, 1,451 in Gondia, 1,871 in Amravati, 950 in Yavatmal, 870 in Thane and 898 in Nandurbar.

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