Unions mission on eliminating sickle cell anaemia boon to ASR district


2 February 2023

VISHAKHAPATNAM: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement that the government will launch a mission to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047 is a boon to the million people living in AP’s ASR district. The incidence of sickle cell anaemia in this district is highest in south India, according to health officials.

Presenting the Union Budget 2023–24 in Parliament on Wednesday, Sitharaman said the mission will entail creating awareness, universal screening of seven crore people in age group of 0–40 years in affected tribal areas, and counselling through collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments.

“This is a very good decision and boon to the million Adivasis living in ASR district and elsewhere,” said assistant district medical and health officer Dr. Leela Prasad.

Talking to this correspondent soon after the budget session, Dr. Prasad said after 570 cases of sickle cell anaemia had been confirmed, Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) commissioned a survey in 2018 by a private agency, which found that 2,245 had been affected by this anaemia.

“Now, we want to survey 53,000 students enrolled in the tribal welfare, government schools and KVGB schools within ITDA Paderu limits. This will be a massive exercise being taken up after 2018,” Dr Leela Prasad pointed out.

Another medical officer said state government has sanctioned a monthly pension of 10,000 to 550 patients affected by sickle cell anaemia.

Welcoming the launch of the mission, honorary professor of Andhra University genetics department Prof. Paddaiah Gangisetti said 10–15 percent of the population suffers from sickle cell anaemia. He suggested extensive research on the subject.

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