Over 1 lakh patients in India die before they turn 20

World Thalassemia Day Tuesday

Amid lack of treatment facilities, people suffering from thalassemia are unknowingly transmitting the disease to their children.

While countries like Pakistan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia have made carrier testing compulsory for relatives of thalassaemia patients long back, there has been no move to put in place prevention and control program at the national level in India. Proper diagnosis before child birth is required to prevent it from getting passed down to the off-springs.

- Every year 10,000 children with thalassaemia major are born in India.

It is a blood disorder which causes weakening and destruction of the red blood cells, affects the formation of hemoglobin in the body and causes mild or severe anemia.

"Children who have mild thalassemia may feel exhausted or irritable, have shortness of breath, feel dizzy or lightheaded, and have pale skin, lips or nail beds compared to their normal colour". It usually exists in three forms, thalassemia trait or asymptomatic carrier stage where the patient does not show any symptom and remains undiagnosed if not tested, thalassemia intermedia which is less severe than thalassemia major, hence they require less blood transfusions and thalassemia major which is the severest and results in causing ineffective production of RBCs and hypochromic anaemia. It is a genetic disorder due to which a patient can not make enough hemoglobin found in Red Blood Cells (RBC's).

The blood transfusion requirement increases as the person grows. Each red blood cell can contain between 240 and 300 million molecules of haemoglobin.

However, the prevalence of Thalassemia is not uniform in the country.

The World Thalassemia Day will be observed in the country as elsewhere across the globe on Tuesday to create awareness about the deadly disease and the importance of blood donation.

The need for psychosocial support is even greater in India where treatment poses a financial burden as well.



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