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World Sickle Cell Day 2020: June 19

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World Sickle Cell DayEvery year on June 19 the World Sickle Cell Day is observed to increase public knowledge & understanding about sickle cell disease. The day also aims to put forth the challenges faced by these patients, their families and caregivers.

Background

i.World Sickle Cell Day was 1st organised by the United Nation General Assembly in the year 2008 to recognise sickle cell disease as a public health problem. 

ii.The 1st day was celebrated on June 19, 2009.

About sickle cell disease

What does sickle cell disease mean?

i.Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. 

ii.People with this disorder have unusual hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S, which can cause red blood cells to become sickle or crescent shape.

iii.It is a blood disorder that is inherited and passed down from parents to the child. 

Symptoms 

Symptoms can be seen from around 5 months of age but in milder cases it can take up to teenage years. This disease affects both children & adults.

Persons with this disease can suffer from anemia, swelling in the hands and feet, bacterial infections, blindness, bone damage and stroke.

Different types of sickle cell disease- Sickle cell anaemia, Sickle hemoglobin-C disease, Sickle beta-plus thalassemia, Sickle beta-zero thalassemia

Treatment

With early diagnosis and proper medical care, sickle cell disease can be managed.

The treatment of sickle cell disease may require antibiotics, intravenous fluid administration, routine blood transfusions and sometimes surgery.

Facts about the Disease:

i.Sickle Cell Disease is common in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Central America, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India, and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece and Italy.

ii.As per World Health Organization (WHO) 

  • The disease is one of the main causes of premature death amongst children under the age of five in various African countries. 
  • Each  year over 3 lakh babies are born with severe forms of haemoglobin diseases including thalassemia and sickle cell disease. 
  • Around 5%  of the world’s population is healthy carriers(a person or other organism that has become infected with a pathogen, but that displays no signs or symptoms) of sickle-cell disease.

Sickle cell disease in India

In India, the disease is more common in south Gujarat, north Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and western Odisha compared. It has less impact on southern  regions in India.

About UN:
Headquarters– New York, United States
Secretary General– António Guterres

About WHO:
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Director General– Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus