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   May  08, 2014


World Thalassemia Day
By : Hina Mahmuddin

World Health Organization (WHO) defines, “thalassemia as a blood related genetic disorder which involves the absence of or error in gene responsible for production of hemoglobin (a protein present in the red blood cells).” It is a gene which is located into chromosome 16 and it controls the production of alpha subunits, while genes on chromosome 11 controls the production of beta subunits. A lack of this particular subunit distinguishes which type of thalassemia, this actually is. i.e absence or error in alpha subunits defines this type of thalassemia as alpha thalassemia and so the other. The severity of thalassemia disorder depends on the gene mutation and types of subunit on which mutation has occurred.

Thalassaemia is a single-gene inherited disorder in the world and it has a magnitude of prevalence in many regions around the globe, which is a major public health concern. “For example in Iran, it is estimated that about 8,000 pregnancies are at risk each year. In some Mediterranean region where this disorder is endemic, long-established control programs have achieved 80-100% prevention of newly affected births.”(WHO, 2014). In particular, Pakistan doesn’t lie in any sort of devastating percentile but still it is increasing lagging behind towards its screening and approaching for genetic counseling
Diagnosis of thalassemia is possible in 10-11 weeks of pregnancy using procedures like amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling. Moreover, genetic testing and patient counseling can also play an important role in the prevention, management and treatment of this disease. Commonly anyone can be tested via routine blood counts for thalassemia. Thalassaemic patients may have reduced fertility or even infertility, so early treatment can increase chances of improvement in their quality of life.

Each year on 8th May, world thalassemia day is celebrated, in which several organizations commemorate the thalassemia patients and their families, so to reassure that this whole world is there; into the fight to lessen the burden of these disorders from this world by following proper preventive regime and its care. On thalassemia day various organizations do arrange awareness sessions with great hopes and determination in the walk to fight against these global health concerns.
Several Thalassaemia organizations are working on the promotion of knowledge and understanding of Thalassaemia and haemoglobin conditions through community health education and awareness campaigns. Pre-pregnancy information dissemination and community education aims to empower health consumers with full knowledge to take a wiser step towards their own and their children’s future.



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