First ladies of Cyprus, other countries join forces to help Thalassemia patients

January 28, 2010

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The First Ladies of Cyprus, Lebanon and Albania joined forces in Cyprus on Wednesday to help thalassemia patients worldwide.

They gathered in Nicosia at the invitation of the First Lady of the Republic of Cyprus Elsi Christofia to inaugurate the International Circle of Dignitaries for the benefit of patients with haemoglobin disorders.

The Circle of Dignitaries is a new initiative by the Thalassemia International Federation (TIF), the Cyprus-based global federation of thalassemia associations. The objective of the Circle is to support the efforts of TIF to promote greater awareness of haemoglobin disorders, effective prevention and optimal patient care globally.

The founding members of the Circle are Elsi Christofia, First Lady of Cyprus, Liri Berisha, First Lady of Albania and Mouna Haraoui, representing the First Lady of the Republic of Lebanon.

Cyprus used to have a high percentage of thalassemia patients but managed to markedly reduce the number of patients by preventing the birth of babies having the disease through pre- marital examination.

“Cyprus has a long track-record of effective prevention and treatment of thalassemia and provides a successful model for other countries to follow,” Elsi Christofia said.

She said that both Lebanon and Albania are examples of countries where TIF has for many years been actively involved and where significant progress has been achieved in promoting the quality of life of patients.

Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Organizes Blood Donation Drive with Al Naboodah National Contracting Group LLC

January 28, 2010

Couresty by:
The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank, which operates under the direction of the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City managed by Cleveland Clinic, launched a blood donation campaign today 24 January 2010 on its campus for the staff of Al Naboodah National Contracting Group LLC. More than (100) staff volunteered in response to the growing demand for blood and blood components. 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.

The Blood Bank organizes an average of seven blood donation drives weekly with different organizations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Universities cooperate with the Blood Bank to organize such donation drives for its students, shopping malls for its visitors and companies for its staff. The blood collected through the Blood Bank in such campaigns or in its campus covers the needs of governmental and private hospitals in Abu Dhabi as well as other Emirates. Blood transfusions often are needed for trauma victims due to accidents and burns, heart surgery, organ transplants, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia.

The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank medical staff performs tests on blood donors for hemoglobin, blood pressure and blood type. The blood collection process takes approximately 10-20 minutes per donor while the entire process from the time volunteers register and begin the screening until they leave took approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Educational brochures, leaflets and posters were distributed around the facility to raise awareness among the employees about donating blood. Volunteers provide nearly all the nation’s blood supply for transfusion; there is no substitute for Human Blood. If eligible donors give blood twice a year, it would greatly help in maintaining an adequate blood supply for the country. Eligible blood donors can donate blood 3-4 times a year safely.

Dr. Laila Abdel Wareth, Chairman of Laboratory Medicine at SKMC praised the efforts of the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank team for organizing the event and thanked the staff of Al Naboodah who donated blood to save lives.

Mr. Glyn Thomas, General Manager of Al Naboodah National Contracting Group LLC stated, “We are honored to organize with the Blood Bank this blood donation drive today. It is part of our social responsibility aiming to help the community and support the voluntary works whether it is for blood or other activities. We are proud to see a good contribution from our staff in donating their blood during this campaign which we aim on organizing annually”.

The Blood Bank staff ensures that international standards are complied with and that all blood donors were carefully screened to meet strict criteria and that all blood that is donated undergoes 6 major tests for infectious disease. The blood donation process is very safe; the health care team at the Blood Bank will assess donors to ensure their safety. It is not possible to acquire any disease through donating blood because only new, disposable, sterilized equipment is used for each donor.

The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday from 7:00 am to 9:00pm and on Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm. Organizations that would like to host the Mobile Blood Bank can call the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank to make arrangements.
To inquire, please call the Blood Bank at +971 2 4940400

Emirates Thalassemia Society honours DM

January 28, 2010

Couresty by:

Emirates Thalassemia Society recently honoured Dubai Municipality for its contribution to the success of the “Future without Thalassemia” campaign, which was organized on the sidelines of the UAE’s celebration of the International Thalassemia Day last year.

Dubai Municipality was honoured during a meeting between Obaid Salem Al Shamsi, Assistant Director General for International Affairs and Partnerships Sector with Abdul Baset Mohammed Mirdas, Chairman of the Emirates Thalassemia Society.

“This recognition is the result of the Municipality’s conviction on the importance of creating awareness about Thalassemia disease in the community especially since it is the most common genetic disease in the country,” said Al Shamsi.

He added that the Municipality provided five locations for the promotion of the campaign and distributed brochures and booklets to the employees and customers in the main building and the Municipality branch centres.

Mirdas appreciated the participation of Dubai Municipality and its key role in achieving the goals of the campaign, pointing out that the society organizes campaigns to curb the spread of this disease in the UAE through educational awareness-raising events each year.

Free Medical Camp

January 27, 2010
Free Medical Camp at UMH

Free Medical Camp at UMH

FREE MEDICAL CAMP being organized by Usman Memorial Hospital, a project of the Okhai Memon Youth Services for the needy and less-affluent people living in the vicinity of Hussainabad, Gharibabad, Karaimabad, Moosa Colony and adjoining localities.

APART FROM ALL OTHER FACILITIES, THALASSEMIA.COM.PK in collaboration with HSC will conduct FREE BLOOD SCREENING of 200 Participants (Male/Female) to find out any sort of blood-disorders.

Some valuable material about THALASSEMIA for the awareness of general public will also be distributed.

Please avail this opportunity and visit the Usman Memorial Hospital.

Call: 111 UMH UMH (111 864 864)

FAiTh on The First Blast @ Dawn News

January 24, 2010

On the last day of 6th National Thalassemia Conference & Workshops I got a call from Dawn News that they wanted to interview me, it was indeed a pleasure to know that FAiTh is being given a chance to prove themselves.

On 30th December I gave interview at their studio, along with me there were Dr. Waleed Bin Azhar – CEO Fatimid Foundation, Karachi.

I have got the complete show video uploaded for you guys.

Dr Waleed tell what’s thalassemia, its issues, complications, etc. [Video 1 & 2]

I was called to be a motivational figure and I talked about life with thalassemia. [Video 3]

Mr. Nafees talked about his two children who were thalassemia major but couldn’t survive. [Video 4]

Efforts to Help Patients through Blood Donation

January 18, 2010

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Winters in Shimla have always been a nightmare for the patients who require blood transfusion to save their life. At Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital, particularly, patients coming from the tribal and other far flung areas of the state used to face a lot of difficulties in arranging blood as in severe cold conditions the shelves of the blood bank remained almost empty. The reason was less voluntary blood donation camps during winters and no decrease in the demand of blood. But the winter season started from December 2009 is slightly different from the past years.

Umang Foundation, a public welfare trust, keeping in view the grim situation, decided to start a campaign of four voluntary blood donation camps and a drive to focus on the rights of the children with Thalassemia. The campaign was launched by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal along with the Health Minister Dr. Rajiv Bindal on 11th December, 2009 to celebrate the World Human Rights Day.

Mr. Ajai Srivastava, Chairman of Umang Foundation, said, “We tried to play the role of a catalyst. Our campaign was just to make local NGOs believe that during severe winters also, people can be motivated to donate blood. In our camp on 11th December, 50 units of blood were collected. After that some other organizations like Ashadeep, Save Life Mission and Sant Nirankari Mission etc. came forward to organize camps. This is the first winter in the history of Shimla when so many blood donation camps were conducted.”

The second camp of Umang Foundation was organized in collaboration with The Christ Church and YMCA Shimla on 20th December in the Church compound. During the Christmas celebration of one and half century old Christ Church, the blood donation camp was inaugurated by Rev. P.K Samant Ray, Bishop of CNI, and 40 persons donated blood in the camp. The third camp at the Ridge was held on 1st January to mark the New Year celebrations and in total 80 units of blood was collected. Mr. Narender Baragta, Horticulture Minister of the State, inaugurated the programme. The 4th and last camp of the series was organized on 14th January to celebrate Makar Sankranti, the Hindu Festival of donations. Defying snow and biting cold wave, as many 40 persons donated blood in the camp. Hundreds of people gathered at the Ridge to celebrate the festival with the children with Thalassemia.

It is pertinent to mention that all these camps were dedicated to the children with Thalassemia as this issue is at the top of the agenda of Umang Foundation. “During this campaign, we tried to make people aware of the genetic blood disorder called Thalassemia. Apart from this, we motivated hundreds of people, particularly youth and girls, for blood donation. We are the only organization to organize four blood donation camps in Shimla during severe cold. And if the need be, we are ready to organize one or two more such camps in this season”, added Ajai Srivastava.

The Chief Minister, while inaugurating the campaign on 11th December, had lauded the efforts of Umang Foundation and said that it provided more than 700 units of blood to the blood banks of Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital and Ripon Hospital of Shimla in the calendar year of 2009. It was a big achievement of the Foundation when Chief Minister accepted its two major demands and announced to establish a separate Thalassemic ward and an Eye Bank in the I.G.M.C. Hospital, Shimla.

Dr. Sandeep Malhotra, Blood Bank Officer of I.G.M.C., Shimla, said, “These camps created history and helped us in a very crucial period to save life of hundreds of patients.” And that is not all! A large number of dedicated voluntary blood donors associated with Umang Foundation donated blood at the blood banks in emergency.

Apollo Hospital, Ahmedabad on an Expansion Spree

January 17, 2010

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Ahmedabad-based super-specialty Apollo Hospitals, which has 400-bed capacity but has 180 functional beds, is all geared up and embarking upon expansion plans to improve the delivery of patient care. A major initiative with futuristic requirement is the new Stemcyte and Cord blood Collection Centre, which is a joint collaboration between Apollo Hospitals, local pharma giant Cadilla Pharmaceutical and StemCyte India Therapeutics Ltd with Stem Cyte USA. The centre is due to open in the first quarter of 2010. The hospital has also started a new 13-bed Haemato-Oncology Centre and two-bed stem cell ICU and is currently dealing with haemato-oncology patients requiring stem cell and bone marrow transplants. “The plan is to start a paediatric stem cell transplant for conditions like thalassemia major and congenital immunodeficiency disorders. The other facilities that has been already completed includes a new endoscopy unit, a six-bed day care centre and six bed high dependency unit,” shares Dr Praful Pawar, CEO, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad.

The hospital will be expanding its Platinum International Wing bed capacity of 10 beds by another 16 beds in next three to six months. Critical Care Units (ICUs) at the hospital is set for expansion of its current capacity of 70 beds to 100 beds in next six months.

The hospital has also started new initiatives such as knee clinic, smoking cessation clinic, no touch thermal breast scan, sugar clinic, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, pain management clinic, and sunset clinic to continuously improve the patient care.

“On October 2, we achieved another milestone by becoming the first Indian corporate hospital to provide telemedicine consultations to inmates of Ahmedabads’s Sabarmati Jail. This Sabarmati Jail- Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad telemedicine tie up through ISRO to treat prisoners, is first-of-its-kind in India,” shares Dr Pawar. The hospital is also planning to start a cadaveric liver transplant programme in the near future

Thalassemia gene carriers denied government jobs

January 15, 2010

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Some 31 applicants were denied government department jobs last year because they are thalassemia gene carriers, officials said. And three of those 31 have filed a lawsuit against Foshan government authorities, alleging discrimination.

“Refusing applicants who are thalassemia gene carriers was in accordance with the country’s relevant regulations, although all have passed written tests and interviews,” said Zhou Jianhua, spokesman for the personnel department of Foshan, Guangdong province.

The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court last week accepted the lawsuit, which is believed to be first of its kind in the country. The court has not yet set a date for the trial.

Under the general physical examination standard of government departments employment issued in 2007, applicants will be denied the job if he or she develops anemia, a condition caused by various mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

However, some experts and lawyers said thalassemia gene carriers should not be regarded as anemia patients.

“Those developing light symptoms of thalassemia are no different from others in work and daily life,” said Li Chunfu, a doctor with the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Hospital.

“Thalassemia gene carriers or those with light symptoms usually do not develop physical signs,” Li said.

“So it is absolutely wrong to deny them job offers. Denying thalassemia gene carriers jobs as government department employees is a kind of discrimination,” Li added.

In Guangdong, one in nine people, or about 12 percent of its population, have developed thalassemia, Li said.

The three applicants’ lawyer, who declined to be named, said each of their hemoglobin levels is higher than 120 g/L, the lowest count in the national standard to diagnose a person with anemia.

“The personnel authority has made a mistake in deciding they are anemia carriers,” the lawyer said.

New Haven’s Helix Gets $500,000 Backing

January 14, 2010

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Helix Therapeutics LLC of New Haven has received $500,000 in venture capital from Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for technology investing.

Helix also received $100,000 from a combination of individual investors and LaunchCapital, a venture capital firm with an office in New Haven. This follows a $515,000 investment from Connecticut Innovations in March 2009, which was part of a $965,000 funding round involving LaunchCapital, individual investors and a line of credit from Webster Bank.

Helix, which comes out of Yale University research, is trying to find gene therapies that could treat or cure sickle cell anemia, B-Thalassemia, Hurler syndrome, Gaucher’s Disease or HIV.

This latest investment in Helix represents Connecticut Innovations’ sixth investment since the state’s fiscal year began in July.

Family Laws Amendment Bill presented to NA

January 12, 2010

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National Assembly Tuesday granted leave to move ‘The Muslim Family Laws Amendment Bill 2009’ further to amend the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961.

MNA Justice ® Fakhar-un-Nisa Khokhar moved the bill to the House that was sent to Standing Committee concerned by Acting Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi after the government did not oppose it and the House granted leave to move the bill.

Presenting the bill to the House, the member said, it provides for presentation of a medical certificate about blood test by the bride and bride groom that they are not suffering from Thalessemia.

Referring to specific amendment in the Ordinance, she said, the Bill provides ‘before registration of a marriage, the Nikah Registrar shall ensure that pre-marital blood screening of the bride and the bride groom have been undertaken and certificate to this effect have been produced by each party before the Nikah os solemnized or registered.’

She said in Pakistan 12.5 million children and individuals are affected by Thalassemia, which can be controlled through appropriate tests before entering into wedlock. In this way, we can prevent the birth of children suffering from Thalassemia.

Advisor to Prime Minister Shahnaz Wazir Ali described this bill as of utmost importance and said, the rate of under nourished children and those suffering from blood diseases was high and blood test must be a requirement before marriage.

She urged to regularize functioning of medical laboratories in private sector and also upgrade the testing system at the public sector laboratories.

Shahnaz said, the medical standards regulation system also needed to be strengthened both at provincial as well as federal level.

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