Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna | UPSC

Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna | UPSC


Dr. Harsh Vardhan launches second phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” for underprivileged Thalassemic patients

      WHY IN NEWS:

It aims to provide a one-time cure opportunity for Haemoglobinopathies like Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease for patients who have a matched family donor.

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare


For PRELIMS it is important to understand the aim , funding pattern and the eligibility criteria of this scheme .

For MAINS go through the one time curative approach . You should be well versed with transplantation by the end of this scheme . Let us dive in !


Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched the second phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna



  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) today offers an alternative to lifelong transfusion.
  • It is a useful therapy especially in chelation (removing certain heavy metals from the bloodstream) for patients with thalassemia major.

In December 1981 the first allogeneic bone marrow transplant for thalassemia major was performed in Seattle.

  • A bone marrow transplant is a onetime curative approach which has a 70 to 95% chance of success.
  • That patient is now alive and well into 35 years post-transplant.
  • However the procedure is associated with risk of infection, regimen related toxicity, graft versus host disease and relapse.

Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna


  • Accurate data on the prevalence of thalassemia in India is not available but it is believed that there are 20 million carriers.
  • There are nearly 10-12,000 children are born every year with thalassemia major in India.

The prevalence of thalassemia in India is variable with the highest concentration of carriers in Western India.

  • The standard management is regular transfusion and chelation which has to be continued as long as the child is alive.
  • Most of the parents cannot sustain this for logistical reasons and cost.
  • Only 20-30% of patients who have a matched sibling donor can afford to have a transplant.


The outcome of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) for thalassemia major depends on several factors other than the type of donor.

These include:

  • Age of the patient
  • Risk category of the patient based on adequacy of iron chelation and resultant liver damage

The best results are for children up to 7 years of age with success rate above 90% in such patients.

  • However, even older children now have successful transplant in   75-85% of cases if carefully managed.
  • The cost of HSCT varies depending on age / weight of the patient and the complications that may occur.

While HSCT in good risk transplants with no major complications may done at a cost of about Rs.10 lakhs.


  • Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” is intended to provide a onetime cure opportunity.
  • It is for those patients who have a suitable matched family donor.

The project will primarily benefit underprivileged thalassemia patients who have a matched sibling donor.

  • They are therefore eligible for bone marrow transplantation but do not have the financial resources to cover the cost of the procedure.


  • It is suggested that no Physician’s fee be charged for patients transplanted within this scheme.

In cases, the total cost exceeds Rs 10 lakhs, then the patient/transplant Centre may access funding from other sources.

  • The financial assistance would be provided on a first come first serve basis with preference given to children under 7.


Launched in 2017, this scheme is a Coal India CSR funded Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) program

  • The CSR initiative was targeted to provide financial assistance to a total of 200 patients.
  • This will be by providing a package cost not exceeding Rs. 10 lakhs per HSCT.


  • Ministry of health and Family Welfare will facilitate identification of entity/entities /patients and potential donors.
  • The Patients approaches the transplant centers directly.


  • Patients whose yearly family income is Rs. 5 lakhs and or less .

The patient must have transfusion dependent thalassemia and a matched donor.

  • Such patients must be other than Class III B patients .

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Data on the prevalence of silent carriers for various Haemoglobinopathies show that it is 2.9-4.6% for β-Thalassemia,
  • It can be as high as 40% for sickle cell anaemia especially among the tribal population.
  • Haemoglobin variants like HBE in eastern India can be as common as 3-50% which calls for more attention to these diseases.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna


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