Is a Thalassemia test too much to ask?

A simple blood test can save our next generation, but instead I receive calls by married couples whose lives have been devastated by news of their child having thalassemia.

Ayesha Mehmood October 05, 2010
As I typed the list of thalassemia centers all over Pakistan, my cellphone started ringing and diverted my attention. On inquiring who was calling, I heard a sad and depressed voice on the other end. A father’s voice.

I usually get calls but there was something special about this particular one. The guy got married around two years ago to the love of his life (who was his cousin). Now they have a one-year-old baby... and that baby is a thalassemia major.

According to him, no one in their family had this disease, but both of them were thalassemia minor and they didn’t know about it before.

He asked me "Why did it happen to us?"

I couldn’t stop myself from asking him “In this advanced age, why didn’t you know about a simple blood test?”

Because of my previously written articles people think I am against cousin marriages, though I am not. I just wish for people to go through a simple blood test. If every existing thing has a reason behind it, then the thalassemia test has a reason too!

After talking to the father for more than 30 minutes and telling him what he should do now, what are the options etc, I ended the call with the realisation that there is still a huge section of our population that lacks awareness regarding this issue. I believe the media has a strong influence on people and they should come forward and take part in raising this awareness. I bet if a TV ad ran on every single news channel for just a short period of time, it would save several lives.

Once again I will state I am not against cousin marriages, but if you are going to get married please get yourself tested!

A simple blood test can save your next generation… is it too much to ask?
WRITTEN BY:
Ayesha Mehmood Ayesha is official spokesperson of FAiTh (Fight Against Thalassemia), actively blogs at Ayesha's blog and tweets @blessedAyesha
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (31)

Ayesha abid | 9 years ago | Reply sallam to every body. i have recently updated page on facbook. "share Thalassemia Education & prevention in Pakistan" Stepp Pakistan is a account. those who want to have healthy information about Thalassemia, can view my page. As we know that Thalassemia is our national health concern, i would like to request our youth to participate in awareness process so that we can see our beloved country as Thalassemia free. Regards, Ayesha Abid Islamabad Pakistan
Ayesha | 10 years ago | Reply @Ayesha Abid : MashaAllah, Congratulation :) prayers and wishes on your way.. let me know if you ever need any help :)
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