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Sickle Cell Anaemia project in city languishes for want of govt support

It seems the state government is not doing enough to sustain some important projects related to Sickle Cell Anaemia research that are being run at the Baroda Medical College.

Written by Shubhlakshmi Shukla | Vadodara | Published: February 18, 2009 3:21 am

It seems the state government is not doing enough to sustain some important projects related to Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) research that are being run at the Baroda Medical College (BMC).

BMC is one of the six medical colleges in Gujarat,which began research in the field of Sickle Cell Anaemia 30 years ago. However,Sickle Cell Anaemia patients are brought to BMC at an advanced stage of the disease due to clinical complications.

There is no scope for early intervention due to shortage of funds. The issue is yet to grab the attention of corporates,NGOs and alumni of the BMC. Incidentally,BMC is one of the medical colleges,which had experts advising the state government on Sickle Cell Anaemia some years ago.

The expertise of the medical college in terms of Sickle Cell Anaemia had won it the Indian Council of Medial Research (ICMR) project in 2000-2005.

The aim of the project was to check the prevalence of congenital diseases such as Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia among 10,000 youths and expectant mothers.

Even after the completion of the project,Central government agencies offer the project to an educational institute so that research work in the field can continue.

Dr A T Leuva,the BMC Dean,said,“I will look into the matter. It has been only six months since I joined.”

Dr D C Master,who was one of the two doctors who worked on ICMR Sickle Cell Anaemia project,refused to comment on the issue,although he said that the genetic lab is working,albeit quite slowly.

He,however,refused to divulge the reasons for the delay.

Sources said that even as the genetic laboratory is trying to work with the available resources,the government is not even giving its annual development project for the last few years.

This is so despite several requests made by the varsity authorities in the last many years.

Amarjit Singh,state health commissioner,said: “The Health department is quite positive about Sickle Cell Anaemia projects in Gujarat. I don’t know the present situation of BMC but I will try to find it out as soon as possible.”

Jay Narayan Vyas,the state health minister,said,“We are doing work on Sickle Cell Anaemia and even Thalassemia.”

But when asked about supporting the BMC,he said,“There is support from the state government.”

Retired Associate Professor R Z Patel in the Pathology department of the BMC,said: “During 2004-05,I was the member of the advisory committee. We started a pilot project at Chhota Udepur,where we wanted to spread awareness among the leaders of the Rathwa community,which is found to have maximum instances of Sickle Cell Anaemia.”

He added: “We gave yellow cards to those suffering from the disease,half yellow cards to the carriers,and white cards to those who are not affected by the disease.”

The objective of the exercise was to stop marriages between patients having Sickle Cell Anaemia and also to ensure early diagnosis,Patel said.

“We suggested this to the state government. We also insisted on early intervention,so that Sickle Cell Anaemia instances can be brought down. However,nothing could work out,” he added.

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