Blood Donation Camp held at Indian School of Business

June 13, 2010


Hyderabad: Students at the Indian School of Business (ISB) organised a one day voluntary blood donation camp in collaboration with Red Cross Society, Hyderabad recently. This was the tenth consecutive year that the camp was held at the ISB campus.

The entire ISB community – students, staff, faculty, spouses and alumni – donated blood, with 175 units being collected. The donated blood will be mainly used for children in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka suffering from Thalassemia, a genetic disorder which afflicts 1 out of every 8 Indians.

On the occasion, Shiv Kumar, head of Co-curricular Activities at the ISB said, “I donate every year during this camp since voluntary blood donation costs nothing but gives the donor a great feeling of pleasure, peace and bliss. This is our tenth year & I am glad the fervour of students and staff has only increased with each opportunity to donate blood. We had a record collection of 260 units in 2009.”

Dr Komal Jagdish, who supervised the camp, was extremely delighted with the turnout. She said, “Blood from this camp will be used by Red Cross’ Hyderabad transfusion centre which handles 1200 Thalassemia patients every month. But, in summer months, donations usually go down. We are thankful to ISB since this is the only camp we managed this month.”

GU yet to make thalassemia screening compulsory

January 3, 2010

Courtesy by:

Even as four years have passed since the state government directed the universities to make screening of thalassemia patients compulsory in colleges, Gujarat University (GU) is yet to implement the same.

According to the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), all government universities in the state have made the screening mandatory, except GU, even as the maximum number of students (nearly three lakhs) are enrolled there.

GU Vice-Chancellor Parimal Trivedi could not be contacted, but IRCS Executive Director Prakash Parmar told The Indian Express, “In 2005-06, state Education Minister Anandi Patel had asked all the 11 government universities in Gujarat to make the screening compulsory by charging Rs 100 per annum.”

Then followed the directives of state Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas and former Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma.

He added: “In other universities, which include the four agriculture based Ayurvedic University, Sardar Patel University, M S University, Veer Narmad University and Saurashtra University — thalassemia screening has become mandatory. Nearly five lakh students study in these universities.”

According to IRCS, thalassemia screening among youth is important because in some communities like the Lohanas, Memons, Sindhis and Kadva Patels from Saurashtra, nearly 25 per cent members suffer from this blood disorder.

“Since in most cases the carrier is thalassemia minor, the genetic trait is ascertained only after the marriage. And by that time, the damage is done,” Parmar said. He added: “This congenital disorder has a prevalence of five per cent in other communities as well.”

Red Cross tests expectant mothers for thalassemia traits

December 24, 2009

Courtesy by:

The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Ahmedabad, has become the only centre in the western region to determine legal abortions if tests confirm that the expectant mother carries the dominant genetic strain of thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia in her baby.

Thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia is present in certain communities only in Gujarat.

IRCS has started Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests to detect thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA). From these tests, early diagnosis of expectant mothers can determine if the embryo is carrying the thalassemia or SCA genetic trait. If the embryo is found carrying these traits, the parents can approach their district civil hospital and with the consent of the civil surgeon, can opt for legal abortion.

“At present, nearly 10,000 people have thalassemia in Gujarat. One thousand thalassemia patients are expected to add up every year. IRCS along with the Gujarat Health Department had started SCA and Thalassemia screening five years ago, but there are certain cases where married couples carrying these traits have come to know about their genetic disorder only after the delivery of the first child. Early diagnosis will help these couple, if they are planning for a second child,” said IRCS Executive Director Prakash Parmar.

He added: “After we started the PCR test this year, 25 thalassemia minor married couples were tested, of them one had to undergo legal abortion, while the rest have delivered healthy children.”

Parmar said in case of SCA, five married couples were tested. Two had miscarriage, while three went for the tests. One case each was reported from Jambughoda Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Panchmahals, Sagbara PHC in Narmada and Devgadh Baria PHC in Dahod districts.

“Of these, only the cases from Devgadh Baria showed genetic traits of SCA and had to undergo abortion,” he added.

Parmar cited a case at Sabarkantha district where a thalassemia minor couple opted to take the advice of the village ‘panch’ after their first child died. The village panch guided them to carry out tests at IRCS.

He added: “IRCS has approached the state Health Department to carry out early tests for expectant mothers at Ahmedabad in case either of the parents is carrying the SCA or Thalassemia genetic trait. We have sent a proposal to the Health Department asking them to do early tests for expectant mothers at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital,

V S Hospital, L G Hospital, Shardaben Hospital, ESIC Hospital and the Sola Civil Hospital.”

Free treatment of thalassemia soon in Vadodara

December 24, 2009

Courtesy by:

In a bid to make blood transfusion readily available for patients of sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia, the Red Cross Society and Kashiben Gordhandas Patel (KGP) Hospital will now be providing the facility free of cost. The move follows a finding that many patients forego treatment of sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia due to the high cost of blood transfusion.

“We are presently conducting over 75 blood transfusions every month and every patient has to undergo it twice a month. As most of the patients are from the tribal belts and are economically backward, they usually forego the treatment as it is difficult for them to fork out the amount,” said Dr Jagdish Patel, Honorary Secretary, KGP Hospital.

One sitting for blood transfusion costs between Rs 700 and Rs 800. “The patients will not have to pay for the hospital stay, medical fee or laboratory charges either,” Patel added. While there are ongoing programmes of screening and awareness drives for sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia, there are several obstacles in the continuous treatment of the patients.

Man adopts 10 kids suffering from thalassemia

October 30, 2009

Courtesy by: timesofindia

RAJKOT: In an exemplary move, a philanthropist adopted 10 children suffering from thalassemia major and minor for a lifetime at a function here

on Thursday. Jagatsinh Jadeja will ensure regular blood transfusion of these children through out their lives.

“The major concern of the parents of a thalassemic child is regular blood transfusion to be done every two years. In order to relieve the parents of this burden, I decided to do my bit by taking responsibility of 10 children,” said Jadeja, former sarpanch of Ribada village.

Jadeja is also conducting a blood donation camp on November 3rd in the memory of his late brother Ramdevsinh Jadeja.

According to Gujarat chapter of Indian Red Cross Society, several government hospitals across the state are approached for adoption drive of thalassemia kids. Mostly, philanthropists in the memory of their deceased kith and kin go for such charity. “In the past nine years, there have been 18 blood donation camps organized especially for thalassemia patients,” said an official from the Red Cross Society.

Thalassaemia screening made compulsory at 11 state universities

May 10, 2009

Courtesy by:

Ahmedabad The state Health Department has now made it compulsory for all the 11 universities across the state to do Thalassaemia screening of the students from the academic year starting next month.

Two years ago, the department had decided to rope in universities to facilitate the screening with the help of the Indian Read Cross Society (IRCS)’s state branch. But it found little success in the initiative to detect Thalassaemia-Minor cases that are otherwise undetected in the absence of any symptoms.

“The programme was launched two years ago under the umbrella Thalassemia Prevention Programme of the government and is to be implemented with the help of the IRCS. The idea was to rope in universities and colleges to facilitate the screening, but apart from one or two universities, none have taken it seriously.

The detection of Thalassaemia Minor, which otherwise does not interfere in the normal lifestyle, is necessary because if detected it can prevent the offspring being born with Thalassemia Major. When two individuals with Thalassaemia Minor marry there is a 25 per cent chance that their child will be born with Thalassemia Major. Therefore, two individuals with Thalassaemia Minor should not marry. This is the easiest ways to reduce the number of new cases.”

While the programme had failed miserably past two years, General Secretary of IRCS Dr. Madhuben Naik said: “A total of five universities were roped in for the programme but owing to lack of interest, it remained a failure. Even when we visited the universities and persuaded them, the initiative to forward the letter to the affiliated colleges had to be taken by the universities itself. Infact, with the present directive issued in February, we have taken the initiative to visit individual colleges affiliated to the Gujarat University apart from meeting Vice-Chancellors of each university, even if we do not have the power to direct them. We are an autonomous body that facilitates the health department. We cannot direct.”

The Thalassemia Prevention Program in Gujarat was launched in five years ago.

Five universities (Gujarat University, South Gujarat University, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Saurashtra University and North Gujarat University) were roped in by the health department for facilitating screening of students for Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell anaemia in 2007

Thalassemia Day: Gujarat has 7,000 patients

May 3, 2009

Courtesy by:

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad

The state government’s programme to conduct thalassemia tests in the universities has proved to be a major flop show. In the last four months tests have been done on less than 5 percent students. This is despite the fact that thalassemia is increasing at a fast rate and Gujarat alone has nearly 7,000 patients.

Thalassemia is a common genetic disease. It can be detected by blood test only. A child starts losing haemoglobin by 12 months and has to be given blood transfusion frequently throughout his life. Blood transfusion alone does not solve the problem. This also causes iron deposition which may lead to organ failure and consequently death of the patient. To deal with this iron is removed by expensive iron chelation injections.

In India every year nearly 10,000 children are found with thalassemia. Though various NGOs and some medical organizations have been conducting programmes about the disease, lack of awareness is still a major problem which has resulted in rise in number of patients.

May 8 is World Thalassemia day and on the occasion city based Thalassemia Jagruti Foundation has organized an entertainment programme for the patients. Secretary of the foundation Dr. Anil Khatri said that lack of awareness is the major reason for this disease. Though it is genetic and is found more in some communities.

Ahmedabad alone has nearly 1,000 thalassemia patients which are increasing every year. Blood transfusion is a costly process and at times risky too. He said that there are five patients in the city who have developed HIV infection after transfusion.

The foundation and other NGOs have made representations to the government for providing financial assistance to thalassemia patients. The response is good, that is what Dr. Khatri has to say when asked about the steps government had taken. The government has given approval to a proposal for free travel to thalassemia patients in ST and AMTS buses. It is likely to be implemented in a month.

The Red Cross Society is conducting thalassemia test programmes in various colleges throughout the state. But the response of the students is poor, Prakash Parmar, Progamme Manager Red Cross society said. He said that in Ahmedabad there are nearly 75,000 college students and only 5,000 have undergone tests.

Wagh Bakri group is actively involved in prevention of thalassemia.

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