Gujarat awarded Prime Minister’s Civil Services Award for successfully tackling Sickle Cell Anemia in Gujarat
Sickle Cell Anaemia is the most common form of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). SCD is a serious disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped red blood cells. Sickle-shaped means that the red blood cells are shaped like a crescent. In Gujarat, this disease is prevalent in certain tribes. The State Government under the leadership of Honble Chief Minister is committed to improve the lives of marginalized people and weaker sections of society to bring them at par with rest of the people of the State. As a part of improving the lives of people especially tribals and in a bid to control the menace of disease which affects a very large tribal population of the state, the Government has taken various measures and also decided to set up Gujarat Sickle Cell Control Society. The Sickle Cell Anaemia Control Programme was started in four districts of South Gujarat in the year 2006 at the behest of Honble Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The programme was later expanded to all 12 tribal districts of the State. Initially, 78 Government and NGO Institutions were involved in the programme from 4 tribal districts of South Gujarat. As of December 2010, there were 414 centres across the 12 tribal districts of that were involved in the comprehensive care of SCA patients.
The Government has taken up the challenging task of Mass Sickle Cell Screening of all 61.62 lakh tribal population of Gujarat within 5 years at a cost of Rs.24.76 crore. The Government of Gujarat also signed a MoU with GIOSTAR, a USA based company for creating stem cell faculties at the Government Medical College, Surat. Under this programme, more than 13 lakh tribal people benefited during last four years. This is an unique and a highly focused programme to tackle the problem of Sickle Cell Anemia in the tribal population of the State. A multi-pronged and comprehensive strategy was adopted. They were also provided necessary counseling. Marriage counseling was also done amongst youngsters. As a result, tremendous awareness is noticeable amongst tribal people of Gujarat by way of their participation in prenatal diagnosis and new born screening program, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality as a result of this genetic disorder. In fact, to improve the lives of tribal people and bring them at par with rest of the population in the State, Honble Chief Minister has launched a Rs.15,000 crore Van Bandhu Yojana for implementation during 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012). During last 10 years, Gujarat is acknowledged as a State which has planned and implemented a number of excellent initiatives which have solved the problems of the State and these initiatives have become model for rest of the country. Some of the schemes/models have been recognized internationally by Commonwealth and United Nations.