Awareness needed to avoid sickle cell anaemia: Nepal Health Research Council

Kathmandu, June 18

Nepal Health Research Council and doctors said that sickle cell anaemia could be prevented only through awareness campaigns.

Every year World Sickle Cell Day is observed on June 19 with an attempt to increase public awareness about it, but it has hardly produced results. Therefore, doctors suggested organising awareness programmes on a large scale.

The aim is to educate and make people aware about sickle cell anaemia and also to help people know about the struggles experienced by patients and their families.

Haemoglobin forms into stiff rods within the red blood cells that take the shape of a sickle. These sickle shaped cells do not last more than 20 days. Formation of sickle cell in the body obstructs the process of forming new cells which results in anaemia.

Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic disease worldwide caused by mutation of red blood cells. People in Banke, Bardiya and Dang districts are mostly affected by the disease. Sickle cell anaemia is seen from childhood. It decreases the red cells in the body due to which patients show symptoms of anaemia. They suffer from repeated infections and pain in different parts of body. The effects can also be seen in lungs, kidneys, pancreas and the brain.

“Children, whose parents have sickle cell anaemia, have high chances of suffering from this disease. Transmission of the disease to the next generation can be stopped if we can make people aware about the disease and stop people from marrying patients suffering from sickle cell anaemia,” said Dr Anjani Kumar Jha, executive president of Nepal Health Research Council.

NHRC has started research on patients suffering from sickle cell anaemia. It has collected blood samples of 5,288 people in Bardia. The government provides free treatment for sickle cell anaemia.