INDIA – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi has officially launched the new Sickle Cell Anemia eradication mission as part of the government’s mission to eliminate the disease by 2047.

The National Sickle Cell Anemia Eradication Mission (NSCAEM) was launched by Indian Prime Minister Modi during a solemn ceremony held in Lalpur village of Madhya Pradesh.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disease that affects the whole life of the affected patient. It is more common in the tribal population of India.

India ranks second globally regarding the number of people affected by sickle cell disease (SCD), with over 20 million people with sickle cell traits and nearly 1,400,000 people diagnosed with SCD.

Consequently, the National Sickle Cell Anemia Eradication Mission aims to address the pressing health challenges posed by Sickle Cell Disease in both tribal and non-tribal populations of India.

As part of the new NSCAEM, Indian Prime Minister Modi unveiled a new health portal and national guidelines for the management of the genetic blood disease and different modules for its monitoring.

The latest guidelines are anticipated to support decision-makers in allocating appropriate funds to the health budget for the timely detection of Sickle cell Anemia, disease treatment, and prevention.

Moreover, PM Modi began the distribution of over 30,000,000 digital Ayushman cards in the country and issued 10,000,000 PVC Ayushman Bharat cards to various beneficiaries during the launch event in Madhya Pradesh.

The Ayushman Card contributes a maximum of 500,000 Indian Rupees (approximately US$6100) and covers patient treatment in government hospitals. It is the guarantee of Modi,” underscored the Indian politician.

This news comes as Madhya Pradesh has remained among the top-four states in the last two years in generating digital health records linked to Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Account (ABHA) under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).

The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is a three-programme generation of ABHA digital cards, healthcare professional registries, and health facility registries aimed at improving patient access to quality treatment in government hospitals.

What’s more, Modi also distributed Sickle Cell color-coded counselling cards to several beneficiaries to build on the government’s mission to eliminate the disease by 2047.

The launch of the NSCAEM comes after Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister of India, announced that the health sector has been allocated about US$10 billion (Rs 89,155 crore) in the 2023/24 union budget.

Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Government of India set aside adequate funds to facilitate the screening for sickle cell anaemia targeting approximately 1 million individuals under 40 years living in affected tribal areas.

Comparably, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has approved national guidelines for the treatment of Sickle Cell Anaemia Disease.

Thalassemia & Sickle Cell Society (TSCS – Hyderabad) also submitted a compelling letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) & MoHFW requesting to pass a Bill in Parliament or a Government Order for the mandatory implementation of the HbA2 test in all hospitals nationwide for pregnant women.

In their letter to the PMO, TSCS Hyderabad stressed the importance of the HbA2 test as a reliable method for identifying carriers of thalassemia and distinguishing between different types of thalassemia.

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