Dr.Bharat SinghINVC,
Delhi,
Delhi Medical Association organised a seminar on Thalassemia on 7th May at 2.30 PM to observe World Thalassemia Day.Thalassemia basically means anemia, a genetic blood disease which the child could inherit if one or both of his/her parents is carrying the disease gene. The risk is higher if both parents have this disease. Symptoms are not visible, but it can be identified through medical tests. The World Health Organization set the 8th of May each year as the World Thalassemia Day in order to raise awareness of this disease, how to avoid it, and how it is transmitted. Dr.K.K.Kohli, Hony Secretary apprised the audience that Thalassemia Major is an inherited blood disorder in which the affected children are unable to maintain Hemoglobin (Hb) in the normal range. Their bone marrow cannot form sufficient red cells and red cell survival is also reduced. The normal life of RBC is 120 days which is reduced to about 20 days in patients of Thalassemia. It is estimated that about 3.4% of our population is carrier of thalassemia (or suffering from minor thalassemia). Every year 10000-12,000 children with Thalassemia Major are born in India. It is more prevalent in communities like Sindhis, Punjabis, Gujaratis, Marwaris, Bengalis, Saraswats, Gaurs etc.  The speaker Dr.Sunil Gomber told the audience that Thalassemia is of two types: Minor and Major Thalassemia minors are people who carry one defective gene of halassemia .They are normal except that during stressful situations in life (like some serious surgery/ pregnancy (etc) they may have low hemoglobin. Thalassemia Major is a serious blood disorder which causes severe anaemia and related complications. This is caused by the presence of two defective genes (acquired from each Thalassemia minor parent).When both parents are Thalassemia minors or carriers, there is a 25% chance of birth of a Thalassemia Major child, 25% chance of a normal child
and 50% chance of a Thalassemia Minor child. He told the audience that Patients of Thalassemia need regular blood transfusions every three to eight weeks to maintain normal hemoglobin levels. With regular transfusion and removal of iron (chelation therapy), Thalasseri’s can live and grow into adulthood. If complications are avoided, they can enjoy a productive life. The only curative treatment is bone marrow transplant, he said. Dr.Bharat Singh ,Director ,State blood transfusion Council said that All Blood Banks and Regional Blood Transfusion centres were providing Blood to thalassemia patients without a donor on priority basis. DMA Initiative- Delhi Medical Association, on the occasion of World Thalassemia Day has initiated a campaign- ’

The informed patient: 
knowledge is power’  “ for public at large. The members of DMA have been asked to disseminate knowledge about prevention of Thalassemia to all patients coming to their clinic for next one week as a social responsibility of Delhi Medical Association to the society. In order to combat this deadly disease, DMA with inputs from experts in the field has created an advisory for its members.

  • Advising patients about avoidance of intra-family marriages.
  • Advise all patients planning for a child to get themselves tested for Thalassemia trait.
  • Compulsorily testing a pregnant lady and her husband for Thalassemia trait.
  • Advocating testing of all children of school going age for thalassemia trait.
  • Thalassemia patients regularly need blood, therefore help hold blood donation camps in your neighbourhood area,clinic and residence.

A poster on Thalassemia was released by Delhi Medical Association to
be displayed in clinics and Hospitals of all the members of DMA for
increasing awareness of disease in Society at large.

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