C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Incidence of aplastic anaemia rising in region
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Fifteen-year-old Priya knows nothing about the severity of the infection she is suffering from. Hale and hearty until two month ago, she has been detected with aplastic anaemia - a serious blood disorder caused when the bone marrow stops producing hemoglobin, white blood cells and platelets for some reason. The drop leads to destruction of the immunity. So serious is the complication that untreated patients don’t survive beyond four to five months.

And Priya is not alone on the difficult road to recovery. She has several partners in suffering, with the PGI’s Internal Medicine Department handling at least 10 to 15 cases of aplastic anaemia every week. Doctors confirm that the incidence of the disorder is rising alarmingly.

“We get about 100 fresh cases annually and this is an old figure. Of these, 50 to 60 per cent are severe to very severe; only 30 to 40 per cent are mild in which the patient can survive with medication. We have observed more prevalence in rural population though there are no studies to show why. Use of insecticides and self-medication are possible causes. Over consumption of antibiotic Chloromycetin has been shown to cause aplastic anemia. We have also found the disorder among those suffering from jaundice of Hepatitis B and the jaundice in which virus goes unidentified.”

In Priya’s case clinical examination is going on, though doctors don’t rule out chromosomal defects as a possible cause. They warn people against self-medication, especially those in the age brackets 15 to 25 years and 35 to 50 years, which are at high risk.

A senior PGI doctor says, “Youngsters often go outstation for jobs. They tend to self-medicate in the event of viral infections. This can be very harmful. They should avoid this, considering these are risk factors for aplastic anemia, which is difficult to diagnose.”

Treatment becomes very difficult due to late diagnosis. Making matters worse for patients’, including Priya, is the massive cost of available treatments, of which bone marrow transplant is the most trusted but the least opted for.

PGI doctors say that family members, even educated ones, are reluctant to take a blood test to see if their bone marrow matches with that of the patient. “They have a misconception that they will catch the infection if they get their blood tested. Even if the bone marrow matches, the transplant costs Rs 5 lakh. The other option is medication which costs around Rs 5 lakh, even more. Costly treatment exasperates the patients’ situation, who is as such at great risk, like Priya who is a severe case. She needs life saving treatment which will cost over Rs 5 lakh. She has no funds.”

Priya’s family is in no position to help her. Her father, a poor man from a Kangra village, was recently indisposed in an accident. He has started selling household ware, but that won’t help. Priya’s doctors are expecting donations to the PGI Welfare Fund in PGI Director’s name to save the child’s life.


Causes and symptoms

Aplastic anaemia is a serious blood disorder in which the bone marrow, for some reason, stops producing hemoglobin, WBCs and platelets, leading to immunity failure. It is different from normal anaemia in which only hemoglobin count drops. Although exact cause of the disorder is not known, self-medication and excessive use of Chloromycetin are possible causes. The following symptoms should be taken seriously-persisting weakness, repeated infection, bleeding, oral and nasal bleeding. Doctors say it is best to get regular and full blood test for prevention. 



Munjal group sweeps PGI technologists’ poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Despite an intensive round of campaigning by the rivals, the election to the PGIMER Technologists Association proved to be a cakewalk for Mr Ashwani Munjal and his group. At the end of the day, it was a clean sweep for his team, which won all eight posts with a convincing margin.

More than 82 per cent members of the association participated in the elections held through secret ballot. Out of about 435 registered members, 347 members of the association exercised their franchise. Mr Dev Raj Chumber, senior lab technologist, Biochemistry, was declared elected President defeating his opponent Mr Govind Prashad, senior lab technologist, Nephrology, by a margin of 139 votes. Mr Dev Raj Chumber got 239 votes against 100 polled by Mr Govind Parshad.

Mr Bhupinder Kumar, senior lab technologist, got 227 votes for the post of senior vice- president and defeated his opponent Dr Pankaj Kaul, senior lab technologist, Histopathology, who got 115 votes.

For the post of the general secretary, Mr Ashwani Munjal, senior lab technologist, Biochemistry, polled 254 votes, beating Mr Deepak Dhawan, senior lab Technologist, Advanced Paediatric Centre by 164 votes. Mr Dhawan got 90 votes.

Ms Manju Gupta, junior lab technologist, Haematology, polled 211 votes, who defeated her opponent Ms Bhupinder Kaur, junior lab technologist, Experimental Medicine, by a margin of 93 votes for the post of additional general secretary. Ms Bhupinder Kaur got 118 votes Ms Monica Mahajan, senior lab technologist, who polled 222 votes for the post of joint secretary, defeated her rival candidate Mr Yudh Pal Singh, senior lab technologist, Pharmacology, by a margin of 105 votes.

Mr Chanan Singh, junior technologist ( Anaesthesia), defeated his opponent Mr Om Parkash, junior technologist by a margin of 122 votes for the post of organising secretary. Mr Prem Chand , senior lab technologist, was declared elected as treasurer by defeating his opponent by a margin of 137 votes. Mr Prem Chand got 237 votes. Mr Dev Raj Chumber has earlier served the association as its senior vice president and joint secretary for four years. Mr Ashwani Munjal has been the general secretary of the association since 1990-1996 for six years.



3 Inspectors promoted
Tribune News Service

Jaswant Singh Khaira Chandigarh, August 3
The Chandigarh Administration today promoted three UT Police Inspectors as Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP).

Highly placed sources in the police said Inspector Parmod Kumar Vashist, Inspector Sandal Singh Thakur and Inspector Jaswant Singh Khaira had been promoted as DSPs. However, their postings were yet to be decided. Sources said a major reshuffle of the DSP-level officers was on the card.



Vipul Kumar takes over as RPO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Mr Vipul Kumar joined as Regional Passport Officer at Chandigarh here today. An officer of the 1993 batch of the Civil Services, Mr Vipul Kumar was posted as Superintendent of Police, Fatehgarh, Uttar Pradesh, before coming here.

The RPO said “a huge backlog with regard to issuing passports was what struck me on the first day. Timely issuing of passport tops my agenda”.



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