Curriculum introduced to raise awareness about sickle cell anaemiaThe disease—which is a group of blood disorders—spreads like an epidemic every year in several Tharu villages in Bardiya.
Barbardiya Municipality has started incorporating a curriculum centred around awareness about the epidemic of sickle cell anaemia (SCA) disease. The curriculum will be taught in various schools in the district.
The incorporation of the curriculum is expected to raise awareness among students about the symptoms and precautions of the disease. Sickle cell anaemia is a group of blood disorders that a person usually inherits from his/her parents.
The curriculum has been designed by Dr Rajan Pandey, a doctor at Bheri Hospital, who has led the teachers through teaching procedures.
“With the incorporation of the curriculum, many have felt it necessary to examine their blood before marriage,” said Durga Chaudhary, the mayor of Barbardiya. “Students are getting aware and they have started teaching their parents as well.”
The disease spreads like an epidemic every year in several Tharu villages in the district. If both parents have sickle cell disease, there is a 25 percent chance the couple’s child will be born with the disease. While 50 percent of them contract the disease one way or the other, only 25 percent will remain free from it. Those affected with the disease die prematurely.
The best way to eradicate risk is to examine the blood before marriage, Pandey said. “About 50 percent of infants below five who contract the disease die every year,” he said.
Also recently, Bansgadhi Municipality launched a campaign to transfer students from private schools to public schools. As part of the campaign, about 700 students enrolled in public schools in the current academic year. The campaign has put pressure on public schools to ramp up their educational standards, said Shalik Ram Adhikari, the mayor of Bansgadhi.
Dhani Ram Chaudhary, a secondary-level student at Jana Sewa Secondary School, said that while he used to ingest medicines for jaundice until now, he now has started taking medicines for sickle cell. “The disease was strange to me,” Chaudhary said. “It is only after reading about it on my book that I got to know about sickle cell and ways to diagnose it and precautions I need to adopt to prevent it in the future.”
In addition to awareness about anaemia, the redesigned curriculum, which targets primary-level students, also includes lessons on local culture and tradition.