Jalpaiguri: Sickle Cell Anemia campaign in tribal areas from today

Jalpaiguri: The Jalpaiguri district Health department is set to launch a campaign to identify genetic blood disorder, “Sickle Cell Anemia,” prevalent among the tribal communities residing in the tea plantation areas of the district. This initiative is scheduled to commence from Monday, following preparatory meetings with each block administration to outline the campaign strategy.

The objective is to test a total of 106,530 individuals by collecting blood samples. Dr Ashim Haldar, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Jalpaiguri, stated: “Blood samples would be collected through camps held in primary health centres, clubs, schools and tea gardens across all blocks, including Nagrakata, Malbazar and Matiali, where tribal communities are predominant. Health workers have undergone training for this purpose, and the camps will operate three days a week. Our goal is to collect blood samples from at least 100 individuals in each camp. Those diagnosed with the disease will receive treatment in accordance with health guidelines.” District Health department experts emphasise that “sickle cell anemia” affects blood hemoglobin. Unlike Thalassemia, patients do not require blood transfusions, but the disease disrupts blood circulation, leading to pain, fever, hemoglobin mutations and protein loss. Symptoms may include shortness of breath and even heart attacks.

Dr Hasimuddin Sheikh, Medical Officer of the Jalpaiguri Thalassemia Control Unit, emphasised: “It is a genetic disease with the potential to occur in anyone. However, the tribal community exhibits a higher prevalence, with 27 patients identified in the past year, all belonging to this community. Consequently, blood samples from these individuals will undergo testing to determine the extent of the disease’s impact.”

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