Shri Arjun Munda launches ‘Awareness Campaign and Training of Trainers for the Elimination of Sickle Cell Anaemia’

Initiative to take forward Prime Minister’s vision of a Sickle Cell Disease Free India by ensuring Jan Bhagidari: Shri Munda

Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri Arjun Munda launched the ‘Awareness Campaign and Training of Trainers’ as a part of the ‘Mission for Elimination of Sickle Cell Anaemia’ in New Delhi yesterday. The programme envisages training of grassroots-level functionaries so as to create awareness in this direction among the masses, especially in tribal regions.

In a recent announcement, the Government declared a Mission to eliminate Sickle Cell anaemia by 2047 in the budget of 2023-24. This Mission will entail awareness creation, universal screening of 7 crore people in the age group of 0-40 years in affected tribal areas and counselling through collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments. The Mission was formally launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, on 1st July 2023 in the Shahdol District of Madhya Pradesh. 

Speaking to the media after the launch, the Minister said that the initiative would take forward Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of a sickle cell disease-free India by ensuring community participation. Under his inspirational leadership, the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Tribal Affairs are collaborating to launch awareness generation initiatives for the Mission for the Elimination of SCD, Shri Arjun Munda added.

The Minister further identified the challenges and opportunities in making this initiative a success. The fundamental challenge, he said, would be to make the mission a grassroots-level movement by ensuring Jan Bhagidari. It would require countering misconceptions among the masses and bringing them on board to develop a truly participative ecosystem for eliminating the disease. The Minister cited the importance of creating a healthcare database of the affected population, which in turn would help in research and finding a lasting solution. Only then it would be possible to stop the transmission of this disease and save the coming generations, he added.

Awareness Module regarding Sickle Cell Anaemia and its Elimination to be translated in various tribal languages to ensure deep penetration of the message at the grassroots level

Shri Arjun Munda launches ‘Awareness Campaign and Training of Trainers for the Elimination of Sickle Cell Anaemia'
Photo credit-Press release by PIB

Shri Arjun Munda expressed happiness to note the response of the State Governments in nominating a large number of tertiary care medical practitioners as master trainers at the State level. Medical professionals are working with tribal communities to promote understanding of the disease, its symptoms, and its agony while preventing misinformation about the illness and eradicating its stigma. As a result, he said, in order to guarantee that the correct information is sent to the public, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs constituted a Committee of experts, including medical professionals, patient support organisations, and other stakeholders, to publish a module on awareness generation and on counselling of the stakeholders. He added that these modules were released at the launch event of the Mission.

The Minister explained that the mammoth initiative of awareness generation is being undertaken and training module at various levels is being planned to reach the last mile. The Minister informed that it is planned to engage the leaders at the community level who would further ensure wide participation of the masses in the mission. He further added that in an unprecedented step, the awareness campaigns are being translated into tribal languages so as to ensure deep penetration of the message at the grassroots level.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary (Tribal Affairs), Shri Anil Kumar Jha informed that to ensure that the people are motivated enough to approach us for diagnostic testing, we are implementing a three-layer training programme at the State, District, and Village levels. Additionally, state governments have designated tertiary care physicians as master trainers at the state level, with district-level trainers training local influencers and opinion makers.

Ms. R Jaya, Additional Secretary, stated that the event marked the commencement of the awareness campaign. Further, she stated that the Ministry was engaging with all the stakeholders in the sector, so as to ensure that the Mission becomes a people’s movement. She requested the master trainers to ensure that they take the training forward and train district-level master trainers who would in turn take the message to the local- village level. There is a necessity to involve all stakeholders at all levels so as to reach the last mile. Further, the Ministry also intends to conduct regional workshops and promotional campaigns to raise awareness and utilize online resources like Swasthya and Sickle Cell Corner.

Community leaders to be engaged to ensure wide participation of masses in the Mission

Shri Arjun Munda launches ‘Awareness Campaign and Training of Trainers for the Elimination of Sickle Cell Anaemia'
Photo credit-Press release by PIB

Three technical sessions were held on (i) ‘Awareness modules and their importance as a preventive measure’ by Dr Deepti Jain, Rtd. Professor, Nagpur Medical College, Maharashtra and Chairperson of the Committee; (ii) ‘Diagnosis in Sickle Cell is critical’ by Dr Anupam Sachdeva, Head of Department, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi and (iii) ‘Role of health workers in the prevention and management of the Sickle Cell Disease by Dr Nita Radhakrishnan, Associate Professor, SSPGI, Noida.

Dr Naveen Thacker, President of The International Pediatric Association (IPA), Dr Saurabh Varshney, Director AIIMS Deoghar, other medical experts, various other stakeholders and all Committee Members shared their views on the occasion. 

Shri Asit Gopal, Commissioner- NESTS, Dr Naval Jit Kapoor, Joint Secretary, Shri Biswajeet Das, DDG, Smt. Vineeta Srivastava, Health Advisor and other officials of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs were also present at the event.

Disclaimer: This is an official press release by Pib.

Digpu News Staff

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