You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

New tele-medicine concept launched to tackle sickle cell

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

A novel concept of providing medical facility over phone to families of newborns suffering from Sickle Cell Disease has been launched by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) here in co-ordination with the Gujarat government.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a hereditary disorder of heamoglobin (Hb), characterised by the presence of abnormal gene known as HbS, and is prevalent among the tribal population of South Gujarat.

At least 44 tribal families having newborns afflicted with SCD have been provided with mobile phones, NGO Valsad Raktda Kendra (VRK) Secretary Dr Yazdi Italia said.

"We don't have the accurate history of patients suffering from SCD as doctors don't have the exact statistics related to the disease. So, we joined hands with Children's' Hospital of Pitsburg and screened 5,000 new borns of which 44 were diagnosed with SCD," he said.

"We have handed the families of these newborns mobile phones so that they can call us in emergencies and take the medication at home itself. We will also call them and give them necessary instructions," he said.

According to ICMR-National Institute of Immunohaematology Director Dr Kanjank Ghosh, the present research project is to carry out clinical follow-up of newborns with sickle cell disease for five years of their life.

This kind of research project is being carried out for the first time in the country, Ghosh said, adding that on completion of the research, a natural history of sickle cell disease in India will be available.

SCD is commonly found amongst the tribal people from malaria endemic areas. South Gujarat tribal community is not an exception and is having high incidence of sickle gene, which ranges from 6 per cent to 34 per cent amongst different tribal communities with an average of 10 per cent amongst general tribal community.

Dr Italia, who is a pioneer of Sickle Cell programme, working on sickle cell anemia since 1978 and is one of the co-investigator of ICMR research project, said that all the tribal people are misdiagnosed and mistreated if their blood is not tested for sickle gene. Across the world, statistics suggest, close to 20 per cent people suffering from SCD die by the age of 20.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, January 13 2014. 10:05 IST