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World Sickle Cell Day 2024, Date, Theme, History and Significance

The United Nations General Assembly recognized sickle cell disease as a public health issue and designated 19 June as World Sickle Cell Day in December 2008. The day aims to raise awareness about the disease, promote early detection, and encourage preventive measures for patient relief.

World Sickle Cell Day-Theme for 2024

The theme for the 2024 World Sickle Cell Day is “Hope through progress: Advancing Sickle Cell Care Globally.”

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that affects the red blood cells. In this condition, the red blood cells become sickle-shaped, hindering their smooth movement and oxygen transportation throughout the body.

Problems Associated with Sickle Cell Disease

  • Sickle Cell Anemia: The irregular movement of red blood cells reduces oxygen flow, leading to anemia.
  • Fatigue: Sickle cell red blood cells have a lifespan of only 10-20 days, compared to the normal 120 days, causing fatigue due to reduced oxygen transportation.
  • Swelling and Pain: Restricted blood circulation in the hands and feet can cause swelling and pain.
  • Increased Risk of Infections: The disease damages the spleen, which filters blood and helps fight infections, increasing the risk of infections.
  • Severe Pain: Sickle cell disease can cause severe pain throughout the body.

Treatment and Cure

There is currently no cure for sickle cell disease. Treatment focuses on preventing complications, organ damage (including strokes), and managing symptoms. Some treatment options include:

  • Bone Marrow Transplant: A complex procedure that can potentially cure the disease.
  • Pain Medications: To manage the severe pain associated with the condition.
  • Folic Acid Tablets: To prevent severe anemia.
  • Antibiotics: To combat infections, as patients are more susceptible due to a compromised immune system.

Government Mission for Elimination of SCD by 2047

The Government of India has set a target to eliminate Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) by 2047. To achieve this goal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission on 1st July 2023 in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh. This mission is part of the National Health Mission.

Focus Areas of the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission

The mission focuses on the tribal districts of 17 states where the prevalence of the disease is highest. It aims to create awareness and conduct universal screening of 7 crore people in the age group of 0-40 years in the affected tribal areas. Sickle cell disease is more prevalent in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, western Odisha, eastern Gujarat, and certain areas of the Nilgiri Hills in north Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

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