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Meet on thalassaemia awareness

- Nearly 145 suffer from blood disorder in Kamrup metro district

Guwahati, May 8: Thalassaemia, a blood disorder, affects nearly 500 individuals across the state at present, of which Kamrup (metro) district has nearly 145 people, said officials of the Assam State AIDS Control Society, on World Thalassaemia Day today.

The Society organised a meeting to create awareness on thalassaemia and a blood donation camp in the city today.

According to experts, thalassaemia leads to anaemia in the affected person, who might require frequent blood transfusions.

The disorder is caused by the destruction of red blood corpuscles, bringing down the haemoglobin level in the body. The disorder can affect males and females in any age group.

“Thalassaemia can affect an adult as well as a child. The disorder is genetic in nature and is of two kinds — major and minor. In thalassaemia major, the patient requires frequent blood transfusions, while in thalassaemia minor, the patient may require blood transfusions only if he suffers from any form of infection,” said P.N. Talukdar, the additional project director of the Society.

The common symptoms of this blood disorder are weakness, anaemia, bone deformities and enlarged spleen in some cases. The disorder is usually detected through medical tests.

The availability of sufficient units of blood of all groups in the blood banks is a prerequisite to treating patients with this disorder.

Encouraging voluntary blood donation, experts said the blood banks provide free blood for thalassaemia patients.

All blood banks must take an initiative to organise frequent blood donation camps to ensure continuous availability of blood for patients.

“Hospitals and district authorities must come forward to help patients with this disorder. All blood banks will be linked centrally and there will be provisions for component separation of blood in all of them. Doctors should also take into consideration social and family-related problems that such patients may face while treating them,” said S.K. Roy, the project director of the society.

“All thalassaemia patients must book their slots at least a day before they come to hospitals for blood so that sufficient units of blood can be arranged,” said Tirtha Chaliha, the head of the department of pathology of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

Although this blood disorder is genetic in nature, there are treatments available for pregnant women with thalassaemia to ensure that they do not pass on this disorder to their unborn children.

“A pregnant woman with thalassaemia can start the treatment from the ninth week of gestation to ensure that her child does not get it. She can safely deliver a healthy baby,” said Talukdar.