The National Rural Health Mission that has endeavoured to fight sickle cell anaemia on a war-footing, especially in western Odisha, got a fillip by teaming up with Vedanta Aluminium and its CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.
Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disorder characterised primarily by chronic anaemia and periodic episodes of pain leading to organ damage.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India has around l lakh sickle cell disease patients, with about 8,000 new sickle cell anaemia patients born each year in the country.
Though ICMR has set up prenatal diagnostic facilities across Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka and Punjab, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) had a strategic initiative to focus on western Odisha.
This was borne by the fact that more than 5 lakh people in Odisha are affected by the disease, according to the State Health Department, of which nearly 80 per cent are found in 13 western Odisha districts.
The V.S.S. Medical College in Burla, which has a sickle cell clinic that is sponsored by NRHM, recently teamed up with the Vedanta Hospital at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, to conduct a sickle cell screening camp.
Around 197 people turned up for the screening from the nearby 47 villages of Lanjigarh, like Basantpada, Jagannathpur, Jodabandh, Biswanathpur and Balabhadrapur.
Mukesh Kumar, COO, Vedanta Aluminium, Lanjigarh, noted that a lot of people are affected by sickle cell anaemia in the Lanjigarh area. The screening camp aimed at getting them free treatment through the NRHM.
Prior to the camp, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) team of Vedanta Aluminium, Lanjigarh, educated villagers on sickle cell anaemia in order to get more people to come for the screening.
Incidentally, central institutes such as AIIMS, the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education at Puducherry, the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research at Chandigarh and the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital at Delhi have facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.