Sickle cell anaemia is a blood disorder in which the shape of red blood cells begins to change.
In the Union Budget 2023, finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised significant changes in the health sector. One of the most crucial statements was the intention to launch initiatives to eradicate sickle cell anaemia by 2047. Following the example of polio, the government has aimed to eradicate sickle cell anaemia as quickly as possible.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, "A mission would be launched to eradicate sickle cell anaemia by 2047. Raising awareness, universal screening of seven crore individuals between the ages of 0 and 40 in impacted tribal areas, and counselling will be part of the plan, which will be implemented in partnership with national ministries and state governments."
Sickle cell anaemia is a blood disorder in which the shape of red blood cells begins to change. They become sickle-like and start producing blockages in the blood arteries. This is a hereditary condition in which the body ceases to produce blood leading to a significant blood shortage in the body. Symptoms of sickle cell anaemia are:
People who have sickle cell anaemia get it from their biological parents. The gene that aids in the production of normal red blood cells mutates or alters.
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Sickle cell anaemia is caused by a mutation in the gene that instructs the body to produce haemoglobin, an iron-rich molecule found in red blood cells. Red blood cells use haemoglobin to transport oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. The sickle cell haemoglobin causes red blood cells to become hard, sticky, and malformed.
According to the Family Health Survey, sickle cell anaemia affected 58.4% of children and 53% of women between 2015 and 2016. Simultaneously, government figures show that 3% of India's tribal population had sickle cell anaemia, and the remaining 23% were carriers, meaning their genes might propagate the disease. Despite measures, the disease has spread dramatically in India since the 1970s.
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The government has set a goal to eradicate anaemia by 2047, however, the question is how this will be accomplished. The Central Government launched the Anaemia Mukt Bharat plan in 2018. This included Poshan Abhiyaan, treatment of anaemia through testing and digital tools and point of care, as well as provision of fortified meals, and promoting awareness through government-funded public health programmes.
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