• Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

Sickle cell disease is a multi-sectoral mission leveraging community mobilization, stakeholder collaboration: VK Paul

BySymbels Journal

Mar 1, 2023

NEW DELHI : Sickle Cell disease is a multi-sectoral mission leveraging community mobilization and stakeholder collaboration, said V K Paul, Member Health, Niti Aayog. 

Addressing the post-budget webinar ‘Leaving no citizen behind’, Paul said that elimination of Sickle Cell Disease an integral part of achieving the holistic vision of health for all in India. 

He added that a collation at the ground level that connects each and every stakeholder is to be made. “We need to make this as Jan Andolan to reach the last mile.” 

Paul emphasized on the need to generate awareness of Sickle Cell Disease wherein ‘opportunity testing’ is encouraged, as it would expedite treatment from those already suffering from the disease. 

“The Ministry of Tribal Affairs plays a role in community mobilization and stakeholder collaboration in defining the medium and modes for reaching affected tribal areas,” he said. 

Paul added that it needs to be widely known that Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana provides full treatment for Sickle Cell Disease, free of cost. “We should form healthcare professional partnerships that will facilitate wide assimilation and sharing of knowledge on a nationwide scale. It is important to incorporate pregnancy screening as well as easy accessibility of Hydroxy urea and pneumococcal vaccine.” 

Reiterating the need for collective action, Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary said that employing a whole of government, whole of society approach is essential for eliminating this disease from the nation within a defined timeframe. 

Bhushan elaborated that the portal on Sickle Cell Disease Management is established and a mobile application is also underway for which the training and orientation has commenced for state governments. 

“It is imperative to define a framework for time-bound implementation on a state, block and district level to ensure last-mile delivery at grassroot level,” he said. 

The union health secretary added that ICMR has conducted a health technology assessment for existing point-of-care tests that have been manufactured in India, endorsing their efficacy. “This followed the onboarding of state governments on these point-of-care tests, their rates, and the possible symptoms that may be prevalent with the targeted group of 7 crore people for whom screening will be done.” 

Bhushan said that the health ministry will support the state governments through National Health Mission for providing financial support. “The state governments can choose the level of screening i.e., one level or two level of screening that they deem fit. Additionally, the health ministry has appointed ICMR, AIIMS, and medical colleges as nodal agencies for all states as a point of reference regarding technical guidance.”

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