Know all about Sickle Cell Anemia

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : June 21st, 2021

Recently, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MOTA) hosted the Second Online National Conclave on ‘Sickle Cell Disease in India' on June 19, 2021, to commemorate World Sickle Cell Disease Day

'Sickle Cell Disease' is a very important topic for UPSC CSE Prelims and Main exam (GS Paper-2 & 3). In this blog, we will be discussing the highlights of the conclave and Sickle Cell Disease in brief. 


Highlights of the Conclave

During the conclave, experts deliberated on recent advances in Sickle Cell Disease management including early diagnosis to latest medicines and advances in treatment of disease.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) in India

Sickle cell disease (SCD), which is the most  inherited blood disorder, is prevalent amongst many tribal population groups in India distributing across Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, western Odisha, eastern Gujarat, and areas of the Nilgiri Hills in north Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

SCD is impacting more women and children, with over 20% of tribal children dying before they reach the age of two and 30% dying before they reach maturity.

Recent Initiatives taken by the Government

  • Tribal Affairs Ministry established National Council on Sickle Cell Disease and Tribal Health Cell, which would coordinate with Ministry of Health and State Governments. 
  • Tribal Affairs Ministry,  through development of Sickle Cell Support Corner, has instituted a mechanism for creating a Central Repository of data.
  • Mobile vans for in Jharkhand and Chattisgarh

Need of the Hour

  • The Minister said there is need for real time data (Sickle Cell Support Corner) which provides relevant information related to Sickle Cell patients  and their needs in respect of testing, drugs and other infrastructural requirements. 
  • Need for reinforcing awareness, prevention and innovative intervention to tackle SCD
  • Need for multi-stakeholder engagement and synergy with pharma companies and NGOs to reduce mortality and morbidity from SCDs and increasing the access to care for SCD in tribal pockets of India.

About Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders or a condition causing anaemia (a condition in which there is a deficiency of red cells or of haemoglobin in the blood). Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited red blood cell  (RBC) condition in which the body's supply of healthy red blood cells is insufficient to transport oxygen throughout the body.

A healthy red blood cell (RBC) is normally in spherical shape. The flexible, rounded red blood cells normally flow freely across blood channels. Due to inheritance of abnormal genes, the shape of the RBC changes to sickle or crescent shape. 

Normal red blood cells survive for about 120 days, whereas sickle cells only live for 10 to 20 days, leaving patients with a critical shortage of healthy cells to transport oxygen throughout the body. This leads to reduced oxygen flow to the body's organs.

Symptoms of SCD


  • Insufficient oxygen in the body causes fatigue and eventually result in organ damage,
  • shortness of breath,
  • chronic pain,
  • light-headedness,
  • dizziness or a fast heartbeat etc.


  • The course of treatment is determined by the underlying diagnosis.
  • Iron/folic acid supplements can be used to treat anaemia. Low vitamin levels can be treated with vitamin B tablets.
  • For blood loss, blood transfusions can be used.
  • If the body's blood production is low, medication to promote blood formation may be employed.


write a comment

Follow us for latest updates