Raipur: A six-day international meet on sickle cell disease - a form of blood disorder - began here Monday.
The 4th International Sickle Cell Congress was inaugurated by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in the presence of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Governor Shekhar Dutt and state Health Minister Amar Agrawal.
Over 250 experts from India and abroad are attending the meet.
The convention is being organised by the Sickle Cell Disease International Organisation and the Chhattisgarh government. Around 15-18 percent of the state`s 20.08 million population is affected by the disease. More than 50 percent of the affected children in the state die before the age of five.
P.K. Patra, head of the state government`s Centre for Genetic Diseases and Molecular Biology, said: "The sickle cell disorder is an inherited genetic lifelong blood disorder characterised by red blood cells assuming an abnormal, rigid, sickle shape. Sickling decreases the cell`s flexibility and results in a risk of serious complications."
"Chhattisgarh should be considered a nucleus of the sickle cell disorder in India, though it is also prevalent in Maharashtra, Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Andhra Pradesh," he added.