Maharashtra expands medical services for sickle cell disease prevention | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra expands medical services for sickle cell disease prevention

Feb 25, 2024 07:58 AM IST

Maharashtra broadens medical care for sickle cell disease patients, introducing 'genetic card' to register and guide partner selection for prevention.

Mumbai: The state health department in Maharashtra has broadened the spectrum of medical care for patients, including the prevention of sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder. Following a directive from the central government, the state will now offer a ‘genetic card’ for registering patients with sickle cell disease.

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The state has reported more than 15,000 patients as of February 12. The ‘genetic card’ will contain records of carriers, suspects, and general patients of this disease.

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“Counselors will use this information to guide the selection of partners based on the medical condition of the person with sickle cell disease, considering the risk of the disease spreading to the next generation,” said the official.

Maharashtra is one of 17 high-prevalence states in India where the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission (NSCAEM) is being implemented. The mission’s focus is on universal screening of all individuals up to 40 years of age using a mass screening approach.

The state aims to eliminate sickle cell disease before 2047 through a mission that includes screening seven crore people aged zero to 40 years, providing pre-marital and pre-conception genetic counselling, and offering holistic care for those with the disease across primary and secondary public health facilities.

“Unmarried individuals with sickle cell disease will also receive guidance on partner selection through this card. Apart from this, patients with sickle cell disease will receive the pneumococcal vaccine as part of the expanded medical treatment services,” said another official.

Currently, 27.25 lakh people have been tested for sickle cell disease in the state, exceeding the target of 24.6 lakh persons. Gadchiroli has the highest number of sickle cell patients with 4193, followed by Nagpur (2634), Gondia (1451), Amravati (1871), Yavatmal (950), Thane (870), and Nandurbar (898).

An official stated, “More than forty per cent of sickle cell sufferers have sickle cell haemoglobin (HbS) is an example of a genetic variant of human haemoglobin and patients are at increased risk of bacterial infection, joint pain, chronic pain, and organ failure.”

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