250 people of the Irula tribe need treatment

Some 250 people of the Irula tribe in Attappady who have sickle cell anaemia, a genetic blood disorder, are in need of better treatment.

Vivekananda Medical Mission Hospital, a charitable institution providing treatment to 108 of these patients, organised a family meeting for them in Agali the other day.

The doctors advised the tribal people to have medical check-ups before marriage as children born to parents with the defective gene can inherit it.

The hospital has been urging the tribal people to undergo free monthly check-ups so that the disease can be better managed.

Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes and Youth Affairs P.K. Jayalakshmi inaugurated a clinic under a special scheme of the National Rural Health Mission for sickle-cell-anaemia patients in Attappady last August, but no follow-up action has been taken.

The Health Department has promised to issue red cards to those with the disease and blue to carriers. Officials said it would help the doctors identify the people with the disease when they visited hospitals with some other health problems.

The carriers have one defective gene of sickle-cell haemoglobin.

Those with the disease have a pair of defective genes, inheriting one each from the parents. They suffer from severe anaemia, repeated infections, pain in the limbs, abdomen and chest, and paralysis.

Most of them die in their early childhood if not treated, Prabhu Das, former medical head of Tribal Specialty Hospital of Attappady, said.

He said 25 per cent of the children born to couples with gene got the disease.

  • Family meeting organised for them in Agali

  • Tribal people told to undergo free monthly check-ups