Health Department Focuses on Sickle Cell Screening in Southern and Western Parts of Gujarat
The tribal population residing in the southern and western regions of Gujarat faces a major health issue – sickle cell anemia. In districts like Narmada, Dang, and Panchmahal, the hereditary disorder is prevalent among the indigenous people. This condition originates from Africa, where natural selection led to the development of traits like sickle-shaped red blood cells, providing resistance against malaria. However, despite being resistant to malaria, those affected face a reduced lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
13 Teams Engaged in Health Screening Efforts
The Health Department has deployed 13 teams to conduct screenings in the Ahmedabad district alone. Among the 16,000 Adivasi population in the Nalkantha area of Narmada, several have migrated due to employment opportunities. The health screening teams are actively working to identify and address health issues among these communities. Notable villages include Shahpur in Dang, Devalthal, Dharampur, and Viramgam. Screening in Ahmedabad district commenced on January 4, targeting Adivasi individuals, and is set to continue until January 10. So far, 6,305 individuals have undergone screening, revealing four cases of concern. Confirmed cases will be referred to the Sola Civil Hospital for further confirmation and treatment. The government aims to eliminate sickle cell anemia by 2047, and this screening initiative covers an estimated 1.53 million people across all 17 districts of Gujarat.
Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia: Understanding the Condition
Sickle cell anemia manifests with various symptoms such as fatigue, frequent infections, delayed growth, jaundice, and pain in the joints. Individuals with sickle cell trait may not exhibit symptoms but can still pass the gene to their offspring. Those with sickle cell anemia are advised to stay hydrated, maintain a balanced diet, avoid extreme temperatures, take regular folic acid supplements, refrain from strenuous physical activity or exposure to extreme weather, and avoid high-altitude locations.
Pre-marital Sickle Cell Screening
It is crucial to undergo sickle cell screening before marriage. If both partners carry the sickle cell trait, there is a 25% chance of having a child with sickle cell disease. Even if only one parent is a carrier, there is a 50% chance of having a child with the sickle cell trait. It is not possible to completely eliminate the sickle cell trait through bone marrow transplantation. Therefore, early detection and proper management are essential for a healthy and prolonged life.