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World Thalassemia Day
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World Thalassemia Day

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Highlights :
  • World Thalassemia Day is observed on 8th May every year
  • On this day, awareness of thalassemia is spread across the world
  • Encouraging thalassemic patients can help them fight the disease bravely

World Thalassemia Day is observed every year on 8th May. The objective of this day is to create awareness about thalassemia among the general public around the world.

What is Thalassemia?

Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder, has fewer red blood cells circulating in the blood of thalassemic patients. They usually suffer from mild or severe anemia.

Thalassemia symptoms are usually visible before the child is two years of age. First few months after birth, anemia occurs and slowly progresses to severe anemia. The most common signs and symptoms of thalassemia include paleness, jaundice and susceptibility to infections, low appetite and enlarged organs (especially, the spleen).

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Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent a fatality. Currently, blood transfusion, gene therapy, iron-chelation and a non-iron diet, dietary supplements are few available treatments.

Objectives of Celebrating World Thalassemia Day:

The objectives of celebrating this 27th World Thalassemia day are:
  • To create awareness on Thalassemia, its symptoms and ways to live with it
  • To create awareness on the importance of consulting a doctor early
  • To create awareness on the importance of vaccinating children, society and the whole world
  • To improve knowledge and address misconceptions about vaccinations

Thalassemia in India

India is known as the 'Thalassemia Capital' of the world and has over 50 million carriers, i.e., 4% of the Indian population.

Every year, approximately 10,000-15,000 children are born with Thalassemia and more than 100,000 thalassemia majors in India are dependent on blood transfusions.
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About 2 lakh units of blood are required per month, as thalassemia patients are dependent on blood transfusion. However, there is a lack of national policy on thalassemia.

The need of the hour is to have the policy, as it helps create awareness about the disease, ensures treatment for all, and strategies to prevent its spread of the disease.

Thalassemia during COVID-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, especially on thalassemia patients. Most hospitals have turned into COVID-19 treating units and thalassemia patients are at risk of infection. Therefore, doctors have been convincing patients to visit smaller clinics and centers for their treatment. Also, recently, there has been a lack of blood supply, donors, and operations since the lockdown in India.

There's a piece of good news for all Thalassemia patients, i.e., they are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through blood transfusion or blood donation process, as respiratory viruses are not transmitted by donation or transfusion. Therefore, doctors and nurses urge donors to offer help while maintaining safe social distancing norms and infection control guidelines.

Conclusion

On this World Thalassemia Day, let us all come together to raise awareness about the disease and help our fellow citizens in their time of need. If you find any of your family members have thalassemia, immediately talk to your doctor, as early diagnosis and treatment can help save their life.

References :
  1. Thalassemia - (https://www.nhp.gov.in/thalassemia_pg)
  2. World Thalassemia Day - (https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/HealthAwareness/healthDay/2020/Pages/HealthDay-2020-05-08.aspx )
  3. Blood Transfusion in Thalassemia : Saviour or Tormentor? - (https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/health-files/blood-transfusion-in-thalassemia-saviour-or-tormentor/3557)
  4. Blood Donation Facts - (https://www.friends2support.org/inner/about/blood.aspx)


Source: Medindia

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