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Govt to provide sickle cell anaemia status cards to tribals below 40

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Wednesday that tribals under the age of 40 will be given cards stating their sickle cell anaemia status and pre-marital counselling regarding the risk of their child to get the disease if they marry another person who has the disease.

After the presenting of the Union Budget, Mandaviya declared that the government will take on the eradication of sickle cell anaemia as a mission and perform extensive screening in the afflicted tribal areas for the early discovery of cases. According to Mandaviya, the tribal population in India and other vulnerable populations are frequently affected by the genetic disease, Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).

“Going forward, the government will also issue cards after screening to tribal persons below 40 years affected by the disease mentioning their sickle cell anaemia status and also provide premarital counselling to make the patients aware of the detrimental effects of the disease if they marry another sickle cell anaemia patient and give birth,” he said.

The aim of the screening is to lower the disease’s prevalence. A strategy for screening about 7 crore people under the age of 40 in 200 districts with the most affected residents has been developed by the Union Health Ministry in consultation with the tribal ministry and the states. The rapid “point of care” histological test, which just requires blood, will be used for the screening.

According to Mandaviya, the establishment of 157 new nursing colleges in conjunction with the 157 medical colleges that have already been operating since 2014 is another significant health-related highlight of the budget. A mission will be launched to eradicate sickle cell anaemia by 2047, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who made the announcement earlier on Wednesday when presenting the Union Budget for 2023–2024 in the Lok Sabha.

“A mission to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047 will be launched. It will entail awareness creation, universal screening of seven crore people in the age group of 0-40 years in affected tribal areas and counselling through collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments,” she said.

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