Nagpur: Being in the centre of the country’s sickle cell belt, the Sickle Cell Society of India, Nagpur, has demanded the Union Social Justice Minister Thavarchand Gehlot to make efforts for setting up National Sickle Cell Treatment, Research and Training Institute in the city. The Society has also demanded testing of blood of scheduled caste and Other Backward Class (OBC) community members as the disease is mostly prevalent among the community members.
An 18-member delegation of Sickle Cell Society of India, Nagpur, led by its President Sampat Ramteke, met the Union Social Justice Minister Thavarchand Gehlot during a function held at Dr Vasantrao Deshpande Hall recently and submitted a memorandum pressing for their two demands.
Ramteke said that according to a report of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, there are 14 lakh patients afflicted by the dreaded sickle cell disease across 13 states and one union territory. Nagpur city is the focal point or belt of the disease. Around 70 percent of sickle cell patients hail from the region. Most of these patients live in villages, jungles, and interior areas. For these patients, Nagpur is convenient for treatment. It is since the past eight years we have been asking for a dedicated centre where sickle cell patients can be treated along with conducting research on the disease.
However, due to lack of political will, whether it is UPA Government in the past or NDA dispensation in the present, most of these proposals have not gone beyond discussions. With today’s technological and scientific advances, the misery of sickle cell patients could be reduced to a great extent. Spread of the disease could also be curbed.
Moreover, the average age expectancy of sickle cell afflicted patients could be increased to 55 years due to proper treatment. If the National Sickle Cell Treatment, Research and Training Institute is set up in Nagpur, it could be immensely beneficial to the patients as the Government of India has bestowed the sickle cell patients (HbSS Pattern) with rights on the line of Divyang persons, Ramteke stated.
“Sickle cell is more serious and painful disease as compared to cancer and heart ailments. But the city is dotted with only cancer and heart hospitals. Hence it is need of the hour to set up National Sickle Cell Treatment, Research and Training Institute in Nagpur. It is possible if MPs and MLAs of city take up the issue, positively,” Ramteke said.