Scikle Cells

Chapter on Sickle Cell Anemia in class X, college courses proposed

March 21, 2023

Reshma Ravishanker

Soon, a chapter creating awareness on Sickle Cell Anemia could be included as part of class 10 and college curriculum across the country.

This comes after one of the doctors associated with an NGO in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district wrote to union minister for transport, Nitin Gadkari about the prevalence of the disease and how it must be addressed. Primary among the recommendations is the need to create awareness about the disease.

Dr Ramesh Katre, president, Arogyadham Sanstha has urged that a chapter on Sickle Cell Anemia be included as part of the syllabus for class 10, diploma, medical and all higher education courses.

India has the second highest number of sickle cell anemia cases in the world, reporting 30,000 to 40,000 cases according to official statistics. In the absence of early diagnosis and treatment or management, this could be a life-threatening condition.

 Dr Katre expressed that in most cases, when children from low-income families suffer from the disease, it is either undiagnosed or left untreated out of the assumption that there is no treatment, resulting in the death of 60% to 70 % of such cases.

As part of the chapter, he suggests that students must study the cause for Sickle Cell Anemia, its effect on red blood cells, long term effects, premarital screening and prenatal diagnosis.

“Improving clinical care, reducing mortality and morbidity, and challenging professional and social ignorance about potentially stigmatizing attitudes to sickle cell within the community has a broader remit beyond the scope of the department of health and family welfare of states. The Department of Education must be involved in better informing young people, communities, and medical practitioners about the nature of this common genetically inherited disorder in India,” he said in a note to Gadkari.

On these lines, the University Grants Commission has, on March 20 written to higher education institutions across the country to take steps towards inclusion of a chapter on the same as part of the curriculum for all students.

In a note, Manish Joshi, secretary, UGC said, “The Higher Educational Institutions may consider including a chapter on inherited blood disorders/Sickle cell. its cause. treatment. inheritance pattern and modes of testing and prevention in the curricula of the relevant courses.”

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