The two-day conference on thalassaemia concluded here on Sunday with the vow to continue efforts to make Pakistan thalassaemia free by raising awareness and employing preventive measures.
The conference was organised at Islamic International Medical College, a constituent institute of Riphah International University, in collaboration with the Thalassaemia Federation of Pakistan.
On the second day, most of the discussions focused on medical complications related to the disease and possible treatments. The complications discussed on the second day included liver diseases related to thalassaemia, endocrine complications, metabolic bone disease and cardiac complications due to the ailment.
Regarding improving the quality of patient management, speakers discussed better quality transfusion therapy, optimising iron chelation therapy, splenectomy in thalassaemia that is patient selection, preparation and aftercare, bone marrow transplantation, and augmentation in foetal haemoglobin.
Towards the end of the two-day event, participants urged the need to raise awareness among people to get checked for thalassaemia before it is inadvertently transferred to their children.
In the bid to make the country thalassaemia free, cousin marriages should be avoided and prospective couples should get their blood tested before contracting marriage.
If either of the parents is free of minor thalassaemia, there are no chances of major thalassaemia in their children. However if both parents carry the gene, they should go for prenatal blood tests on their baby in the initial stages of pregnancy.
If the baby is in the womb had symptoms of major thalassaemia the couple could abort the pregnancy instead of giving birth to an ailing child.
The participants also stressed on the need for better management of thalassaemia patients to make them useful citizens of the country.
They said regular blood transfusions and removal of iron build ups from the bodies of the patients could help them feel normal and be able to study and begin a professional life.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.