SKMC Celebrates the International Thalassemia Day on 21 May 2009

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WAM Abu Dhabi, 19th May 2009 (WAM) — Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), managed by Cleveland Clinic, celebrates the International Thalassemia Day on Thursday, May 21st, 2009.

The aim of the Thalassemia day is to raise the awareness of the public on how to prevent Thalassemia; and that lives can be made more enjoyable and living with Thalassemia can be made easier through education. SKMC is owned and operated by SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, which is responsible for the curative activities of all the public hospitals and clinics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

To mark the “International Thalassemia Day 2009”, the Pediatric Oncology Team at SKMC organizes several activities that are designed to bring the whole family together with others for the purpose of raising the public awareness about Thalassemia, having fun and sharing information. The activities during the campaign are: 1. A get-together for the Children, their parents and SKMC medical team on Thursday 21 May 2009 which will be attended by members of the Senior Management. Face painting, Flower pot planting, Arts and Crafts will be arranged and Gifts will be distributed to the children on SKMC premises.

2. A booth set-up at Marina Mall, first floor, on 21 May, from 06:00 pm till 9:00 pm distributing educational brochures and pamphlets on Thalassemia and pre-marital testing in order to reach a “UAE Free of Thalassemia”. Doctors and nurses will be available at the booth to help the public and educate them about the disease. Moreover, games and fun activities are arranged for children.

3. The Mobile Donor Bus will be also available from 6 pm till 10 pm at the Marina Mall main entrance – next to the parking – for those who are interested to donate blood on the same day. Some patients with Thalassemia may require blood transfusions blood transfusion once every 3 – 4 weeks week; therefore, donating blood is very essential to save their lives. This is organized by Abu Dhabi Blood Bank which operates under the management of SKMC.

4. A booth at SKMC will be set up during the day to provide information to staff and visitors with question and answer sessions with visitors and staff to reinforce their knowledge about Thalassemia and the importance of pre- marital testing.

Dr. Howard Parsons, Chair of Pediatrics Institute, believes that organizing health campaigns on children diseases enhances SKMC role as a provider of comprehensive state-of-the-art patient care services, and as an active health promoter. He says “SKMC Pediatric Institute is considered the largest and the most advanced in the UAE. It is our role to lead and take part in international health campaigns for children such as the two health campaigns we celebrated last quarter on Childhood Cancer and Hemophilia.” Dr. Azzam Al Zoebie, Senior Consultant ‘&’ Head of the Pediatric Hematology ‘&’ Oncology Division, said that “SKMC is currently treating 58 children and 25 adults suffering from Thalassemia. The children come to our newly opened Pediatric Short Stay Unit in the Surgical pavilion once every 3 – 4 weeks for blood transfusion as each blood infusion session would last 4-5 hours while the adults have their treatment and transfusion in the SKMC Infusion Center which was opened in July, 2006. Their routine appointments are to have a physical exam by the physician checking their growth and development and having tests to evaluate their organs’ function and iron status”.

“SKMC and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company – SEHA are committed to providing the highest international standard of care for our patients and especially our Thalassemia patients” Dr. Al Zoebi added.

“We, at SKMC, are considered the first hospital, not only in the UAE but in the region, to offer the newly released oral iron chalator medication for our patients to use instead of the traditional injectable one and that has made a significant change in their lifestyle, compliance and outcome,” he added.

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