Kerala

Sickle cell anaemia on the rise in Attappady

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Survey finds 26 more acute cases among tribal population

A recent survey conducted in Attappady by the Health Department has identified 26 more acute cases of sickle cell anaemia among the region’s tribal population and the total number of tribal people suffering from an acute form of the dreaded genetic disorder has now gone up to 153.

In addition, the department has found 199 carriers of the disorder and their condition may turn worse if immediate treatment and rehabilitation measures are not initiated.

Among the Kurumba, Irula, and Muduka tribal communities in the region, many cases of the disorder are not getting reported. As per unofficial estimates, the number of tribal people vulnerable to the disease in the region is more than 1,500.

Slowing of blood flow

According to Health Department officials, sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disorder seen among tribal people of Attappady, Wayanad, and Idukki. The disorder is highly prevalent among the tribes in south Indian States.

As far as Attappady is concerned, mega rehabilitation packages announced earlier for patients are yet to be implemented. Hospitals here are ill-equipped even to diagnose the disease. The affected people are not getting any special treatment as promised. Those hailing from remote tribal settlements often refuse to get treated. Most of the patients are daily wage labourers who find it difficult to carry out heavy work. Though the government has sanctioned a monthly pension of ₹1,000 for those who are unable to do routine jobs, the disbursal of the amount is often delayed.

According to Attappady’s nodal medical officer R. Prabhudas, those affected by the genetic disorder inherit defective genes of sickle haemoglobin, one each, from their parents, making them prone to severe anaemia.

The disease gets transmitted from one generation to the next if both the parents have sickle cell haemoglobin traits in their bodies.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 11:57:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sickle-cell-anaemia-on-the-rise-in-attappady/article19699172.ece

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