Courtesy by: thenews.com.pk
Friday, May 08, 2009
By Farooq Baloch
About 15,000 bottles of blood are required monthly in Karachi alone to cater the blood requirement of Thalassaemia but existing blood banks cannot arrange for the supply of demanded quantum of blood, said Kashif Iqbal Thalassaemia Care Centre (KITCC), Chairman Muhammad Iqbal while talking to The News on Thursday.
Iqbal said that families of Thalassaemia Major patients are presently in agony due to shortage of blood transfusion facilities in the city. “This scenario has multiplied the hardships of Thalassaemia families. KITCC now intends to provide better transfusion services from its own blood bank to thalassaemic families,” he concluded.
“To keep these children alive they have to be given new blood every 15 to 20 days throughout their lives,” he said. “Unfortunately, due to the lack of awareness among people and lack of cooperation on part of the government and its health ministry, T-major patients die at an average of 15 years or so,” he lamented.
“We can’t do much about T-major patients but by spreading awareness and taking precautionary measures we can make sure that two T-minor patients don’t wed thus T-major cases would be reduced,” he continued.
KITCC is all set to launch it own blood bank to provide free of charge blood transfusions for needy Thalassaemia patients. All arrangements, including purchase of necessary machines and equipment, have been made to initiate the functioning of the blood bank while we have also applied for a license, said Iqbal.
Iqbal said that KITCC Blood Bank, which has been made exclusively for thalassaemic patients, is the only blood bank of its kind in Pakistan, as according to him there is no ward for such patients in whole country. Another bank exists in Islamabad but its services are substandard. “Any one can register their children with our blood bank for free treatment,” he said, adding: “20 to 25 children can be facilitated everyday in the blood bank.”
Thalassaemia is the most common genetically transmitted disorder of haemoglobin encompassing 8-10 million carrier population (Thalassaemia Minor) in the country. Presently 0.2 million are Thalassaemia major patients and 6-7 thousand babies are born every year with Thalassaemia Major.
“Simply the provision of treatment facilities is not the answer but prevention measures involving extensive awareness campaign are required to wipe out Thalassaemia,” Iqbal asserted.
Criticising the government, he said that Marvi Memon had once argued in the National Assembly that pre-marriage couple testing for Thalassemia should be made compulsory as is the tradition in other countries but Federal Health Minister Ijaz Jakharani opposed it.