Sickle Cell Centre
Sickle cell disease, a debilitating autosomal recessive hematological disease, is a matter of significant public health importance throughout the world. In India, this disease has come to the forefront as a significant public health problem, and is often found among the Adivasi (indigenous) communities throughout India due to their location in areas which where/are prone to malaria. The sickle gene is an evolutionary and protective mechanism against the malarial parasite.
The Gudalur Adivasi Hospital has played an important role in addressing sickle cell disease in the Gudalur Valley. In 1998, the Gudalur Adivasi Hospital, with the help of Dr. Ronald Nagel, began conducting an epidemiological assessment of sickle cell disease in the Gudalur valley using a combination of the sodium metabisulphite test and the confirmatory hemoglobin electrophoresis.
In 2004, the Sickle Cell Disease Center at the Gudalur Adivasi Hospital was formalized, with the support of the Tribal India Health Foundation (c/o Hari Prabhakar) and the American Tamil Medical Association. The Center has focused on field and hospital-based screening, treatment, and education. The Center has now entered into a public-private partnership with the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project.
Clinical treatment and prophylaxis at the base hospital and area centers, including vaccination and hydroxyurea for eligible patients. Inpatient and outpatient management is provided. Field and hospital based screening and counselling for patients and at-risk couples, and general education for patients and their families. The research interests of the Centre include examining the epidemiology of SCD in the area, tracking patient outcomes, and exploring alternative plant-based therapies to sickle cell management.