Nagpur: Women from high risk ethnic groups or those having a sickle cell status should get a pre-marital screening done and expecting mothers must opt for a pre-natal diagonsis to avoid birth of a child with the disease, a top medical expert said here.According to Dr Anuradha Shrikhande, Head of Pathology department of state-run Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital, pre-natal diagnosis for sickle cell disease is a safe procedure for both the mother and the child and the reliability of the report in best of the hands is more than 90-95 percent.This can be achieved if women from this majority population is supported by families, communities, religious leaders and policy makers. Instead of matching horoscopesbefore marriage which is a common practise prevailing in the society, know your sickling status for a smart decision of a lifetime, she said.The female population with sickle cell status needs to be respected for confidentiality of her report so as to avoid unnecessary social stigmatisation, she felt.Though the Maharashtra government under the Sickle Cell Control programme has made mandatory pre-marital screening for females in the reproductive age group and pregnant women but an awareness is needed among the community, Shrikhande, a Nodal Officer of Pilot Project of State Government`s Control Programme told PTI on the occasion of Sickle Cell Week being observed from Feb 28-March 6.
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