Azerbaijan has endorsed Program of Action on diabetes, thalassemia and hemophilia for 2011-15

December 2, 2010

The Azerbaijani Cabinet Ministers has approved the Program of Action on a number of diseases for 2011-15.

The Cabinet informs that the programs of actions were approved by decisions #222 on diabetes, #223 on treatment and prevention of thalassemia, and #224 on hemophilia patients.

The first program is linked with a 2-fold increase in the number of registered diabetics in the country. It supposes creation of an electronic registry and database, organization of diabetes prevention schools, providing patients with insulin and other medications, etc.

The second program is linked with the fact that the country has about 1,800 thalassemia patients. It includes examination of marrying persons on the subject of threat of thalassemia in their offspring, organization of laboratories for screening of thalassemia carriers, medical and genetic consultations for them, organization of awareness about thalassemia jeopardy in secondary schools.

The third program is linked with the fact that the country numbers 1,300 hemophiliacs and their quantity is increasing by 30-40 people a year. It includes organization of inter-regional offices for patients with hemophilia, a register of such patients, training of specialists in haemophilia (including abroad).

All activities are financed in accord with Article “Health” of the State Budget.

UAE Genetic Diseases Association carries on initiative for UAE free from thalassemia by 2012

July 30, 2010


UAE Genetic Diseases Association (UAEGDA), the sole non-profit genetic organization in the UAE, recently announced that they are on track to achieve their “UAE Free from Thalassemia 2012” initiative, saying that the target looks quite achievable to eliminate births of children born with the genetic blood disease within the next two years.

Offering free and confidential testing and in association with National Bonds Corporation PJSC, the organisation held a blood screening drive earlier this week for its employees to screen them for the most commonly inherited blood genetic disorders—including as Beta Thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia, G6PD deficiency and Diabetes Mellitus—in support of UAEGDA’s national health campaign.

Regularly organized screening drives help to increase an individual’s awareness on the health risks posed by genetic blood disorders, which can be passed from one generation to the other. The process begins by registering online at the UAEGDA website. Bar-coded labels are then printed and placed on the individuals testing tubes after which the sample of blood is processed in the UAEGDA laboratory. The results are then sent directly to the individual’s email with all the details being handled solely between the client and the organization.

Dr. Maryam Matar, Founder & Chairman of UAEGDA, says that genetic blood diseases like thalassemia are highly prevalent in the UAE but can be addressed with a simple and inexpensive blood test as a primary solution in helping to reduce the presence of hereditary diseases in the country.

“We are confident that with the rapid increase in the activities of our organization and with all the awareness events organized by UAEGDA across the country, we can make the UAE free of thalassemia by 2012,” adds Dr. Matar.

As one of UAEGDA’s leading partners, National Bonds Corporation PJSC takes responsibility towards its employees seriously and is working in association with UAEGDA to support the government’s campaign to eradicate thalassemia in the country by 2012.

“We are committed to stepping up the fight against thalassemia and working towards the health of the nation, both in terms of physical and financial wellbeing,” comments Mr. Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, CEO of National Bonds Corporation PJSC.

“By offering our employees UAEGDA’s free and confidential voluntary tests, we can ensure their own wellbeing as well as that of future generations.”

The UAE Genetic Diseases Association has been able to considerably reduce the impact of common genetic disorders prevalent in the country through its community outreach programs, health education, counseling and free screening tests. They also have a free genetic clinic equipped with a state-of-the-art screening facility supervised by internationally renowned experts.

All you want to know about stem cell banking

May 15, 2010

Courtesy by:
Among the many decisions would-be-parents have to take, whether or not they should preserve their child’s cord blood cells is one such major decision they have to take. Here is some info which will let you decide whether this breakthrough in regenerative medicine works for you.

What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cells are nothing but master cells that regenerate and turn into cells that form tissues, organs and systems. These cells are undifferentiated or blank cells that do not have a specific function. Each stem cell has the potential to become another cell with a more specialised function. Also serving as a kind of repair system for the body, stem cells can divide repeatedly and then differentiate and replenish cells damaged by the various life-threatening diseases.

How effective is it?
The cord blood stem cells can be used to cure about 70 odd illnesses. Banking stem cells present in your child’s umbilical cord is particularly beneficial to treat blood-related genetic diseases. Now the benefits of this therapy are being assessed on lifestyle disorders like arthritis, heart ailments and diabetes. In fact, banking cord blood cells can also help treat siblings and other family members provided they are compatible with the individual seeking treatment.

Sagar Gopal, a resident of Chembur opted for cord stem cell banking for his little one on February 7 this year. “I heard about cord stem cell banking from a friend of mine. After doing the necessary research I realised that cord stem cell banking will be beneficial because a lot of research is on its uses. I think by taking this small step I have secured my child’s life against several life threatening diseases,” says Gopal.

Stem cells can be derived from various sources such as the bone marrow, embryos obtained by in vitro fertilization, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood and menstrual blood.

Bone Marrow – The bone marrow is an extremely rich and the earliest known source of somatic stem cells. Drawn from the spongy tissue found in the centre of bones, the main function of these stem cells is to make blood cells that circulate in our bodies and fight infection.

Umbilical Cord – The other rich source of stem cells is the blood left over in the umbilical cord and placenta of a newborn child. Till recently, this blood was often discarded as medical waste. However, now that umbilical cord blood is known to be a rich source of stem cells, more people are choosing to bank these cells for its potential future use.

Menstrual blood – Menstrual blood too is a rich source of stem blood cells. The advantage of this is that tissue collection can be done easily at home with the help of a menstrual cup. Also the person does not need anaesthesia and the process involved is inexpensive too. However, there is a risk of contamination so the collected sample has to be sterilised within 48 hours and stored at a temperature of -200 degrees.

Advantages of deriving stem cells from umbilical cord as compared to other sources
Removing stem cells from the umbilical cord is simpler. Usually the umbilical cord that connects the foetus with the mother is cut at the time of delivery and discarded. However, in this technique, the blood remaining in the umbilical cord that is full of stem cells is separated and stored in stem cell banks. These stem cells are similar to those found in the bone marrow and have already been used to treat leukaemia (blood cancer).

Mayur Abhaya, executive director of Life Cell, a stem cell bank in India, states, “The advantage of banking stem cells through the umbilical cord is that cord blood’s chances of matching are 20 times higher. Using cord blood cells mean that it has a lower rejection rate by the body.”

How is it stored?
As of now there are three private stem cell banks in India. These include the one run by Reliance in Mumbai, CryoCell stem bank run in New Delhi and Life Cell run in collaboration with Cryo-Cell International, USA in Chennai.

You can now preserve your newborn’s cord blood at any bank for a payment of Rs70,000 for 20 years.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend private cord blood storage unless a family member has a medical condition that might be helped by stem cell transplant. The conditions include leukaemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia. Instead, AAP urges parents to donate the cord blood cells to a bank for general use by public.

Across the world, stem cell transplants have been used since the 1960s to treat a variety of diseases such as: Acute Leukaemia, Histiocytic Disorders, Inherited Immune System Disorders, Combined Immunodeficiency Inherited Metabolic Disorders, Inherited Platelet Abnormalities, Refractory Anaemia (RA), Plasma Cell Disorders, Research on for Alzheimer’s Disease, Cardiac Disease, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s Disease, Spinal Cord, Stroke

Number of diabetics grows two times in Azerbaijan

February 21, 2010

Courtesy by:

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Health held an extended meeting of collegium, devoted to results of 2009.

Chief of medical care organization department Soltan Aliyev said that 118,000 patients, suffering from diabetes, were registered within the framework of State Program for Diabetes. This index exceeds 2 times exceeds that of 2003.

“Presently, the number of patients have lowered from 21.7 to 9.2 on each 100,000 persons. The quantity of patients, suffering from thalassemia, have decreased from 73 to 21 persons on 100,000 people since 2003, quantity of food poisonings have reduced by 40% and quantity of poisoned people – by 50 %,” S. Aliyev told.

Iran to jab individuals against H1N1 for free

January 10, 2010

Courtesy by:

Iranian officials are preparing to mount a free campaign to inoculate at-risk individuals against A/H1N1 flu in the coming days.

Latest figures have revealed a considerable decline in the number of cases that had tested positive for the flu in Iran. No new deaths have been reported in the past two weeks.

Officials, however, predict upcoming waves of the disease in the world as well as Iran, bringing up the need for inoculating high-risk individuals against the disease.

“At-risk individuals such as pregnant women, immunocompromised patients, HIV positive individuals and those suffering from underlying diseases — such as heart, renal and respiratory disorders or active cancer, liver cirrhosis, uncontrolled diabetes, thalassemia, sickle cell anemia and morbid obesity — along with children aged younger than 19 and individuals who are incapable of excreting their sputum will receive the H1N1 vaccine,” said Minou Mohraz, the head of the Iranian association for infectious disease and a member of the National Influenza Committee.

She stressed that healthcare providers who are in close contact with affected patients are in the priority for receiving the vaccine.

Mohraz continued to say that the vaccine will be distributed by the Universities of Medical Sciences in different parts of the country free of charge in order to overcome any possible black-marketing of the drug.

She stressed that the quality of the vaccine has been approved by the Iranian Ministry of Health, suggesting that no certain complication would be reported.

The head of the Iranian association for infectious disease said healthy individuals do not need to be jabbed against A/H1N1, adding that following simple precautionary measure can ward off the flu in these individuals.

Genetic and bio-technology conference held

December 24, 2009

Courtesy by:

A large population of the UAE suffers from genetic disorders, including common ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure and thalassemia, which affect one in 12 people in the country

Dubai: The first genetic and bio-technology conference opened here on Monday with experts warning that the world is being challenged today by serious diseases and viruses that threaten our communities.

The event is organised by the UAE Genetic Diseases Association, in partnership with Yamaguchi University, Japan, Zayed University and DuBiotech.

“This event is all about inspiring students to think creatively about science and society, and to see themselves as part of a global community of practitioners working in similar fields,” said Dr. Michael Allen, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Zayed University.

He said genetics and biotechnology is still a burgeoning field in the UAE.

A large population of the UAE suffers from genetic disorders, including common ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure and thalassemia, which affect one in 12 people in the country.

Dr Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice-President of Zayed University, said the conference will help raise awareness on prevention and treatment methods of these diseases.

Graduate and post graduate students from the Zayed University, Higher College of Technology and Manipal University are taking part in the day-long conference.

Common genetic disorders in UAE

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Birth Defects
  • Cancer, such as breast cancer
  • Leukaemia (1 in 12 in UAE has this)
  • Thalassemia
  • Alpha Thalassemia
  • Sickle-cell anaemia
  • G6PD (not enough of enzyme glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase)

Antiviral for all with chronic disease

July 13, 2009

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The 2.4 million people in Thailand suffering from chronic diseases such as asthma, heart disorders, paralysis, diabetes, cancer and kidney transplant would be given antiviral drugs without having to undergo lab tests for type A (H1N1) virus first, the Public Health Ministry announced yesterday.

The move comes after it was reported that most deaths from swine flu in Thailand were of people with underlying disease.

Yesterday, the ministry reported 211 new cases, bringing the number of swineflu cases in the country to 2,925. Three more deaths were reported, lifting the total number of fatalities to 14. Among the new cases, 180 were students and 10 were medical workers.

Of the three new victims, one was a traffic policeman based at Bang Na police station. He succumbed to kidney complications yesterday at the Police Hospital.

The second victim was a 45-year-old man who suffered a high fever for five days before seeking treatment on Monday. He died on the same day.

The third victim, a student from Maha Sarakam province, died from a new strain of the virus at a hospital in Khon Kaen. The youngster had recently come to Bangkok to sit for an exam, before developing a high fever and succumbing to the flu on Wednesday.

In a bid to cut down the deaths, the Department of Disease Control’s spokesperson Dr Kamnuan Ungchusak said doctors nationwide should start giving patients with underlying diseases the oseltamivir drug immediately if they show any flu symptoms.

“Patients with chronic disease should seek medical treatment and receive the antiviral drug as soon as they develop flulike symptoms or have a high fever. Doctors should not wait for lab results to confirm the infection first,” he said.

Kamnuan explained that people with underlying health problems were at higher risk of getting a severe form of the influenza and developing further complications.

Department of Medical Service’s director general, Dr Rawat Witsaruthvej said only 20 out of the 2,000 patients infected with the new virus showed severe flulike symptoms. Of these, 15 already have preexisting conditions such as obesity, heart disease, kidney, leukaemia or thalassemia, while some were also pregnant.

He said eight patients with underlying disease were in critical at the hospital. The doctor said most deaths were caused because the patients were tardy in seeking treatment.

“We found that most patients who have died from the new virus chose to stay at home for six days after developing flulike symptoms instead of immediately seeking treatment,” he said.

The World Health Organisation’s regional director for Southeast Asia, Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, said pregnant women and young children appeared to be facing a higher risk.

He was speaking at a regional consultation on Pandemic H1N1 2009: Strengthening Country Capacity for Pandemic Preparedness attended by 68 health experts from eight countries in the region.

Meanwhile, director general for the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation, Dr Vithit Atthavejkul said his agency would produce another 10 million oseltamivir tablets, bringing the country’s stockpile to 15 million. Of these, 10 million tablets will be distributed among the 2.4 million patients with chronic diseases. GPO will also start producing a new vaccine after it receives the seed vaccine virus from WHO on July 16.

The organisation expects to produce 2.8 million doses per month of the new vaccine and should be ready to distribute it by November.

To give people access to essential medication and flu vaccines, the National Health Security Office (NHSO)’s secretarygeneral, Dr Winai Sawasdivorn said the NHSO board will approve Bt300 million for the purchase of a new vaccine to deal with the pandemic next year. However, he said, he was not sure the NHSO could purchase two million doses of vaccine as requested by the Public Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, Dr Samlee said the biggest concern was the reassortment of the virus. If people with seasonal flu are further infected by the typeA (H1N1) virus the two viruses could genetically combine to create a more virulent and severe infection.

“This is the time for seasonal influenza and we should be well aware of this phenomenon and protect ourselves from ordinary flu,” he said. Plus, the avian flu (H5N1) virus, which has been prevailing in the region, could further complicate the situation.

“Further reassortment can take place with a coinfection of H1N1 and H5N1 viruses,” he warned. “We have to make sure that the avian influenza is under proper control.”

Influenza viruses, in general, are highly unstable and can easily undergo genetic mutation that in turn can either make them milder or more severe. In this regard, the typeA (H1N1) virus is no exception.

“This is something we have to keep in mind when dealing with the influenza viruses,” Samlee said.

The Public Health Ministry expects 200,000 to 300,000 people to be infected with the new virus by the end of this month. The mortality rate of the pandemic in Thailand is 0.4 per cent, which is equal to the figure in the United States.


Cost of examination for the 2009 influenza charged by private hospitals


Initial screening test: to determine whether it is common flu Type A or B:


Blood test to determine whether it is the 2009 influenza


Blood tests with a positive result, come with medication included

Source: The Private Hospital Association


World Health Organisation: Alert levels depending on scale of outbreak

Level 1: Fatality rate at 0.1 per cent of all confirmed cases

Level 2: Fatality rate at 0.10.5 per cent of all confirmed cases; Thailand’s rate is now at 0.4 per cent

Level 3: Fatality rate at 0.51 per cent of all confirmed cases

Level 4: Fatality rate at 12 per cent of all confirmed cases

Level 5: Fatality rate over 2 per cent of all confirmed cases; all public gatherings and activities are required to be cancelled, as happened in Mexico, where the outbreak is thought to have originated.

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