Hyderabad, July 14 (Hydnow): Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu today highlighted the importance of preventive measures to address the huge burden of genetic diseases like thalassemia and sickle cell anemia in the country. He wanted the states to undertake mass screening of the children for early identification and management of genetic disorders.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Research Laboratory, Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory, and 2nd Blood Transfusion Unit at the Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Society (TSCS) in Hyderabad today, the Vice President urged the private sector and NGOs to complement the government’s efforts in combating genetic diseases.
Recognizing that the available treatment options for these genetic conditions– bone marrow transplantation or regular blood transfusion – are cost-intensive and distressing to the child, Naidu called for a comprehensive approach to address the health challenge of Thalassemia and sickle cell anemia.
Mentioning that around 10-15 thousand babies are born every year with Thalassemia in India, the Vice President said that lack of awareness of these genetic diseases is a major impediment in their prevention and early diagnosis.
Therefore, he urged all stakeholders – doctors, teachers, public figures, community leaders, and media – to spread awareness of Thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Complimenting TSCS for providing free treatment to patients suffering from these genetic diseases, Naidu wanted the private sector to set up more diagnosis and treatment facilities, especially in tier two and three cities and rural areas to make healthcare accessible to all.
Describing gene disorders as a major health concern in the country, the Vice President said that they impose a heavy economic and emotional burden on the affected families. Statistics show that the prevalence of beta- Thalassemia is in the range of 2.9 to 4.6% in India whereas sickle cell anemia is more prevalent among lower socio-economic sections of society, ranging from 5 to 40 % among the tribal populations.
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