Arresting spread of thalassemia

May 15, 2010

Courtesy by:

For the first time religious scholars, politicians from the ruling alliance, as well as the Speaker of the Sindh assembly, Shehla Raza, joined doctors for the prevention of thalassemia and demanded that legislation be made to take the blood test of couples before they are married.

At a press conference held by the Husaini Blood Bank on Wednesday at the Karachi Press Club, the Naib-Amir of the Jamat-e-Islami (JI), Sindh, Dr Arif Alvi, along with Aslam Ghauri, representative of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) supported the demand made by the members of the blood bank and said that they would co-operate in whatever way they could.

Speaker Sindh Assembly Shehla Raza said that making a legislation wouldn’t be enough as the efficacy of law in implementing the legislation was also necessary.

Thalassemia is basically a genetic blood disease which is transferred to the children through their parents. “Thalassemia patients lead a normal life,” said Asad Ali, Chief Executive Officer at the Husaini Blood Bank, “but the problem occurs when two thalassemia minors get married which transmits the disease in their children and makes them a thalassemia major, which is far more severe.”

He said that that at present, out of the 160 million population of Pakistan, 1 million ere patients of thalassemia minor whereas 6,000 newborns every year were diagnosed with thalassemia major, which is a major cause for concern. Apart from that he said that the reason this disease is spreading so fast is that not many people are aware of its symptoms. Moreover, he said that those infected with thalassemia major need frequent blood transfusions, said Asad.

“We need 7,660 blood bags daily but unfortunately this enormous demand is not met the way it should be,” said Asad. He said that it had been proved in research that donating blood once a year protected one from cardiac diseases. The speakers stressed that legislation in this regard will help in control thalassemia.

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