Healthcare workers to be trained to manage blood disorders

| | New Delhi
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Healthcare workers to be trained to manage blood disorders

Thursday, 13 April 2023 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

With an aim to manage Beta Thalassemia and other Hemoglobinopathies—a  group of hereditary blood disorders- - a three-year long national programme has been launched to equip healthcare workers across the country with the necessary skills to prevent and manage the disorder particularly in remote and underserved regions of the country.

To begin with, under the program, healthcares from NHM Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)  are being trained with ECHO India, an NGO providing the platform while Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) playing the role of an academic partner. Post Graduate Institute of Child Health (PGICH) Noida , a UP government run pediatric hospital will serve as the national hub for ECHO India's program. Later the initiative will cover other States too.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends one clinical hematologist per 100,000 people in every country to diagnose and treat patients with diseases of the blood and bone marrow. But, India falls well below this target, as per various studies.

The ECHO initiative aims to provide much needed training to help address increasing cases of blood disorders.  Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri Arjun Munda, after inaugurating the initiative on Tuesday  highlighted the importance of capacity building to address the challenges posed by these life-threatening conditions. “Today, Beta Thalassemia, Sickle Cell Disease, and other blood disorders are a key challenge facing our country's healthcare system. These life-threatening conditions affect not only the Indian population at large but also children and several tribal communities, making it essential to improve access to quality healthcare facilities, especially in far-flung and underserved regions. “

Dr. (Prof.) Arun Kumar Singh, Director of PGICH, said, "This nationwide capacity-building program on beta-thalassemia and hemoglobinopathies, aims to equip healthcare professionals with the latest knowledge and tools to effectively manage this genetic disorder.”

“With Thalassemia being prevalent across various parts of the country, it is crucial to upskill healthcare professionals, especially those in remote parts of India, on the disease's prevention, control, and treatment,” Dr. (Brig.) Rakesh Gupta, Director of the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS Greater Noida) said while Dr. (Col) Kumud Rai, Chairman of ECHO India, opined that the capacity-building program can prove to be critical in the development of skills and knowledge among healthcare providers at all levels .

According to Dr. Nita Radhakrishnan, Associate Professor & Department Head of PediatricHematology Oncology, PGICH Noida, "This program is an important step in capacity building of healthcare workers to manage Beta Thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder that affects thousands of people in India.” Dr. Sandeep Bhalla, Associate Vice President of ECHO India, shared that ECHO India aims to facilitate the mentorship of over 350 doctors, improving accessibility and quality of care for patients fighting Beta Thalassemia.”

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