Seemingly similar, they are entirely different & serve different purpose.
The origin of issuing of colored Identification card is unknown, but seems it is in use since last 2 decades. Gujrat state officially started distributing Full yellow cards to Sickle cell diseased patients, half yellow & half white card to Sickle cell trait person, full white cards to normal person.
- These cards were mainly used for identifying the patient’s disease status.
- Such cards were to be presented to marriage counsellors who in turn tell whether the couple can marry or not, with prediction of disease transmitting in the forthcoming generation.
- Color coded: color code indicates the genetic status – homozygous, heterogeneous, normal
- Genetic inheritance prediction: prediction of transmission of abnormal gene in offspring of the prospective couple or a couple planning to bear child.
- Counselling card: information on the card that helps in marriage or childbearing decision making.
Simple colored ID cards (Several)
Different states of India use different color card. Only bears information of the person and written general statement.
Genetic counselling card
Special kind of card with see through holes at specific places for match making, genetic prediction and counselling.
Challenges with simple colored cards
- Prospective couple produce their cards before the marriage or genetic counselor,
- counselor predicts the probabilities of their offspring
- In such a situation the challenge is to find an interpreter to understand the ID card.
- As this prediction requires special skill it is difficult for a health care worker with minimum education or for the prospective couple to predict the Probability on their own.
- Non-availability of centers with genetic counseling discourages the prospective couple from taking advice from person skilled in genetic counselling.
Purpose & need for newly developed Genetic counselling card
The whole idea is to issue a useful card that can bring about a change:
- A tool that can save the recurring cost for appointing a counselor at each service point.
- A tool that can save time, money, and loss of work of the beneficiary. Beneficiary needs to travel to a counsellor to get the counselling done each time he/she has a marriage proposal or planning to bear child. Therefore, saving time, money, and loss of work of the beneficiary is paramount.
- A tool that can allay fear. Out of ignorance and fear of being bullied, people avoid visiting counsellors, and hence, the whole purpose of preventing Hemoglobinopathy is defeated.
- Therefore, a safe option needs to be offered to the beneficiary, so that, the beneficiary can himself/herself use the genetic inheritance prediction card at the comfort of their home and make marriage & childbearing related decisions.