New Delhi: Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram on Wednesday praised ASHA and anganwadi workers for their role in combating the Covid pandemic and said they will be crucial in achieving the government’s goal of making India free of sickle cell disease. Addressing an event at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here to mark the World Sickle Cell Day, Oram said that while top experts and doctors will contribute to the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Eradication Mission, success will only be possible with the involvement of ground-level workers.

“ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) and anganwadi workers are the ones who work at the gram panchayat level. They worked more than the top doctors during the pandemic. I can say this with confidence,” said Oram, who recently assumed office as the tribal affairs minister for the third time.

“Therefore, until we engage ground-level workers in this mission, it will not be successful. When malaria was prevalent, a malaria inspector would visit every house in the village to take samples. We need to adopt a similar approach to eradicate sickle cell disease,” he added.

The minister also said that while top doctors can plan and share their knowledge and resources, it is the ground-level workers who have to actually work.

Oram suggested involving major companies operating in tribal areas in the mission to tackle sickle cell anaemia.

On July 1 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Eradication Mission in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh, with the aim of eradicating the disease by 2047.

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited blood disorders that affect haemoglobin, causing red blood cells to become sickle-shaped and block blood flow, which can lead to serious complications such as stroke, eye problems, and infections.

The government aims to screen seven crore people up to 40 years of age as part of the mission. State governments have already screened 3.5 crore people, detecting 10 lakh active carriers and one lakh individuals with the disease.

A carrier is an individual who carries and can pass on a genetic mutation associated with a disease, and may or may not display symptoms.

  • Published On Jun 19, 2024 at 06:20 PM IST

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