Jawadu Hills in Vellore district to be covered

The World Bank is funding a pilot study on the prevalence of thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder, among the tribal population of Jawadhu Hills in Vellore district.

The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project (TNHSP), which will be implementing the project, has already signed a memorandum of understanding with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working among tribal people of the Jawadu Hills.

Speaking to The Hindu while on a review visit of the ongoing health projects for the tribal people at Anaikatti in Coimbatore district on Sunday, S. Gunasekaran, Deputy Director (Tribal Welfare), TNHSP, stated that the NGO would undertake the study soon.

Thalassemia is a disorder characterised by reduced or nil amounts of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein inside the red blood cells. Such patients require frequent blood transfusion and medication. This study was necessitated due to the increase in the number of admission of thalassemia patients from the hilly region to the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore.

Further, he said that a study on the prevalence of sickle cell anaemia among the tribal population in hilly region of Coimbatore district would also be taken up soon.

The World Bank was also funding mobile outreach and bed grants programme for tribal people in 13 districts of the State ranging from Dharmapuri to Krishnagiri to Erode and Tiruvannamalai. Through the programmes, NGOs were roped in to conduct frequent medical camps at tribal settlements. They were also given funds to set up hospitals in these remote rural areas and treat the tribal people near their residences.

Dr. Gunasekaran said that the programmes showed that the tribal population in Tamil Nadu were facing a high prevalence of anaemia followed by worm infestation, diarrhoea, diabetes and hypertension.

Other initiatives for tribal health welfare included providing funding to make available ambulances near tribal hamlets so that patients could be expeditiously transported to nearby tertiary healthcare centres or Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) Centres, which render emergency obstetric and neonatal care services to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

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