PM Modi launches national mission to eradicate sickle cell anaemia

The mission will be implemented in 278 districts of 17 states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka & West Bengal

Sickle Cell Anaemia

Shahdol (Madhya Pradesh): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission (NSCEM) in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol with an objective to eradicate the disease by 2047. He also distributed sickle cell genetic status cards to the beneficiaries at the event.

Addressing a gathering there, PM said the country is taking a big resolution on the land of Shahdol, which is to get rid of the disease of sickle cell anaemia. “Our government is committed to the welfare of tribal sisters and brothers. The launch of ‘Sickle Cell Anemia Mukti Mission’ in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh will bring a significant change in their lives,” added Modi.

Mission was announced in Union Budget

Officials of the Union ministry of health said that the NSCEM was announced in the union budget 2023, with an objective of addressing the pressing health challenges posed by sickle cell disease, particularly among the tribal population. The mission aims to eliminate sickle cell disease as a public health problem by 2047.

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The mission will be implemented in 278 districts of 17 states in India, viz., namely Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, and Uttarakhand.

The mission entails focus on awareness creation, universal screening of approximately seven crore people in the 0-40 years age group in affected tribal areas and counselling through collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments.

Sickle cell anaemia (SCA)

Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) is described as a collection of inherited red blood cell conditions that have an impact on haemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body. When a person gets infected by SCA, their haemoglobin becomes defective, which makes the red blood cells hard and sticky, giving them the appearance of the C-shaped farm implement known as a ‘sickle.’

India has the second-highest global prevalence of SCA disease. As per a National Health Mission report, MP also has the highest burden of sickle cell anaemia.

Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anaemia

Red blood cells in the infected person with SCA resemble like sickles. According to a report by India Today, anaemia, in which red blood cells expire within 10 to 20 days while being expected, is one of the indications of this illness. As a result, there is an RBC deficiency, which leads to anaemia. The body is left worn out and exhausted as a result.

Because sickle cells harm the spleen and make people more susceptible to infections, people may have swelling in their hands and feet, the report added.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that today marked a landmark in Shahdol, as with the initiative of NSCEM, and the distribution of Ayushman Bharat cards, the country comes closer to prioritizing the health of tribal communities. He also stressed the need for everyone to contribute to eliminate the disease, whether it is the government, the health worker, or the citizens themselves.

Drive to be carried in mission mode

The program is to be executed in a mission mode as part of the National Health Mission (NHM), aims to eliminate sickle cell genetic transmission by the year 2047, showing a long-term commitment to eradicating the disease.

Over a period of three years, spanning from the fiscal year 2023-24 to 2025-26, the program targets screening approximately 7.0 crore people. This ambitious goal highlights the program’s dedication to reaching a large portion of the population, promoting early diagnosis and intervention.

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