International Thalassaemia Day, May 8, 2018
International Thalassaemia Day is celebrated on May 8 every year to raise awareness amongst people concerned with decision and policy making, health care professionals, patients and their families and community at large about thalassaemia. It is prevalent in the Mediterranean area, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.
The theme for 2018 International Thalassaemia Day is “Thalassaemia past, present and future: Documenting progress and patients’ needs worldwide”.
Thalassaemia is an inherited blood disorder (passed from parents to children through genes). It results when genes that are responsible for producing haemoglobin are damaged or absent. Haemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body organs and tissues. Due to damaged or insufficient haemoglobin; a large numbers of red blood cells are destroyed and leads to anemia.
There are two types of thalassaemia: alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia. Both alpha and beta thalassaemia may be found in two forms-
Thalassaemia can be diagnosed by blood tests. It is a treatable disorder that can be managed with blood transfusions and chelation therapy. Some children can be cured by bone marrow transplant.
It is difficult to prevent thalassaemia; as disorder is passed from parents to children, however in individuals and families with a diagnosis and/or risk of occurrence of an inherited disorder genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis may be done.
Thalassaemia is now no longer a fatal disease of childhood; evidence indicates that persons with thalassaemia can lead a long and productive life, integrate and contribute to society with proper care and treatment.
Health activities related to thalassaemia in India:
Know more about thalassaemia at www.nhp.gov.in/