SRIKAKULAM: A recent survey undertaken by Seetampeta Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) authorities in the educational institutions under their purview has brought to the fore the adverse health parameters as 361 students have been detected with sickle-cell anaemia.
The survey was undertaken in view of the high prevalence of sickle-cell anaemia, a group of hereditary blood disorders that result in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin found in red blood cells. As many as 18,000 students in 88 educational institutions including Ashram schools, KGBV schools and hostels were screened during the survey undertaken for more than two months.
Further, the survey report suggests that around 80 per cent of the students were found with mild to moderate anaemic symptoms.
“The haemoglobin levels in the blood samples are between 9 and 11 gram per decilitre (g/dl) when compared to the ideal levels between 13.5 to 17.5 (g/dl).
Another 10 per cent of the students have been tested positive for moderate anaemia with the haemoglobin levels lower than 9 g/dl,” says MM Nayak, deputy DM&HO of Seetampeta ITDA, adding that only 10 per cent of the students have normal levels of haemoglobin. He blames it on the poor nutritional values in the regular diets of the students.
With this alarming situation, health officials have taken up measures to set the things right.
“To enhance the haemoglobin levels, we have launched a weekly iron folic supplement (WIFS) programme in all schools and hostels in the ITDA limits.
Haemoglobinometers, apparatus for measuring the amount of haemoglobin in a fluid, have been supplied to all schools. The local ANMs have been instructed to keep a vigil on the fluctuations on a regular basis,” says the deputy DM&HO.
The students, who have been tested positive for sickle-cell anaemia, will undergo haemoglobin electrophoresis procedure for which the ITDA will pay `440 for each test to the Medall, a government authorised laboratory, in Visakhapatnam, he adds.
Instead of taking all students to Vizag, the officials have decided to send the blood samples to the lab. “As many as 113 samples have been collected so far and the rest will be collected from the students’ houses as they all have gone home for summer vacations,” Nayak says.