World Thalassemia Day: Raising awareness about the condition is key, say doctors

PMA suggests that thalassemia be included in high school curriculums.


Our Correspondent May 07, 2012

KARACHI: In view of the World Thalassemia Day today, medical institutes organised numerous events to raise awareness about the disease on Monday.

The Omair Sana Foundation (OSF) organised a “Walk for the cause of Thalassemia Awareness” at the Hamdard University campus, where vice chancellor, Prof. Dr Nasim A Khan, pledged to make Hamdard the first “thalassemia-free” university in Pakistan.

Professors, students, thalassemia patients and their parents attended the walk, which was part of a weeklong awareness campaign initiated by the OSF.

The Dow University of Health Sciences’ (DUHS) Institute of Hematology provided free screening facilities and organised a lecture for students of the Sindh Medical College in its Dow Thalassemia Assistance Programme (Dow-TAP).

Prof. Moinuddin, principal of Baqai Medical University and chief guest on the occasion, said that the disease ruins the life of not only the patient but also their family. Nearly three million people in Sindh suffer from thalassemia minor, while 100,000 children are born with thalassemia major every year in the country. Prof. Moinuddin added that 85% thalassemia major patients need blood transfusions on a regular basis and 80% of them ultimately die due to an iron overload, hepatitis C and other complications.

80% of the country’s population is unaware of the disease. Prof. Dr. Rana Qamar Masood, Director Quality Assurance & NILGID DUHS stressed on the need to create awareness by sensitizing the masses.

A press release issued by the Pakistan Medical Association’s Sindh chapter said that awareness programmes for thalassemia should be launched in schools, colleges and universities and the disease should be included in high school curriculums.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2012.

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