Nagpur: The Nagpur district and the Vidarbha region have been found to have a higher prevalence of sickle cell and thalassaemia blood disorders. However, it has come to light that the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Nagpur, the largest government hospital in the region, lacks the necessary facilities to conduct High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPCL) tests, which are crucial for detecting these disorders, according to a report in a local English daily.
According to the report, the GMCH administration confirmed in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query that they have not conducted any HPCL tests on expectant mothers since 2014. Shockingly, newborns are also not tested for sickle cell or thalassemia at GMCH. This raises concerns about the lack of early detection and subsequent medical intervention for these blood disorders in the region.
Currently, the only government-owned facility offering HPCL tests in Nagpur is Daga Women’s Hospital. However, even there, the tests are conducted as part of a public health project sponsored by an NGO and Nagpur’s Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Centre. The limited availability of this crucial testing method in government hospitals underscores the need for intervention to ensure wider access to HPCL testing for early detection of blood disorders.
RTI activist Pranali Patle, representing the People’s Health Forum, has raised concerns about the lack of HPCL testing at Nagpur GMCH and emphasized its significance in identifying blood disorders during pregnancy. Patle believes that mandatory HPCL testing can play a vital role in eliminating thalassaemia and sickle cell disorders.
Raj Khandare, coordinator of the Patients’ Rights Forum, has requested the District Collector’s intervention to initiate HPCL testing at GMCH. Additionally, patient advocacy groups have expressed the need for the reintroduction of previous medicines and the availability of Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) facilities for regular transfusions.
The absence of HPCL testing facilities at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur poses significant challenges in the early detection and management of sickle cell and thalassaemia disorders. This deficiency raises concerns about the health and well-being of expectant mothers and newborns in the Nagpur district. Urgent measures need to be taken to address this issue, such as equipping GMCH with the necessary infrastructure to conduct HPCL tests and ensuring wider access to NAT-tested blood. Government authorities, healthcare institutions, and patient advocacy groups must collaborate to improve the diagnostic and treatment facilities available for these blood disorders in the region.