New Delhi: During the unveiling of the Union Budget on February 1 (Wednesday), 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government will launch a mission to eradicate Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) by 2047. The government will conduct universal screening for seven crore people between the age group of 0-40 years in the affected tribal areas. It will also entail awareness and counselling through the collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 5 per cent of the world’s population carries trait genes for haemoglobin disorders, mainly, sickle-cell disease and thalassaemia. Besides, more than 3,000,000 babies with severe haemoglobin disorders are born each year globally.
Let us look at what Sickle Cell Anaemia is, its prevalence, symptoms and treatments:
- Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA), also known as sickle cell disease (SCD), is a group of disorders that cause red blood cells to become misshapen and break down. It is one of a group of inherited disorders known as sickle cell disease. It affects the shape of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the blood clots can cause extreme pain in the back, chest, hands, and feet. The disrupted blood flow can also cause damage to bones, muscles, and organs. People with sickle cell disease often feel weak, tired, and look pale. The whites of the eyes and skin often have a yellowish tint.
- Environmental factors affect the occurrence of the disease. The common triggers include cold temperatures, dehydration, excessive amounts of exercise, tobacco smoke, etc.
- According to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs of India, SCA is widespread among the tribal population in India, where about one in every 86 births among the scheduled tribes has the disease. The disease has resulted in morbidity and mortality via distinct pathways.
- The treatment for SCD is primarily a bone marrow or cell transplant, but the treatment for the disease can vary for each person, depending on the symptoms and severity. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved four treatments for SCD.
- Hydroxyurea for people with SCD ages 2 years and older
- L-glutamine or ENDARI, for people with SCD ages 5 years and older.
- Voxelotor or OXBRYTA for people with SCD ages 4 years and older
- Crizanlizumab or ADAKVEO for people with SCD ages 16 years and older
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.