Sunday May 19, 2024

Would-be couples urged to get screened for blood disorder

By Our Correspondent
May 09, 2024
A representational image of a healthcare person setting up a syringe to get the blood from a patient. — Unsplash/File
A representational image of a healthcare person setting up a syringe to get the blood from a patient. — Unsplash/File

A blood bank and treatment facility in Karachi being run by the non-profit Saylani Welfare International Trust has been offering free-of-charge thalassaemia screening to let young would-be couples from underprivileged families determine before their marriage whether or not they carry the genes of the severe blood disorder so that they can protect the health of their coming generation.

This was informed to the audience who attended a seminar organised by the Saylani Blood Bank and Thalassaemia Centre on Wednesday to mark World Thalassaemia Day. The event was attended by children with thalassaemia and their parents.

The senior haematologists and health professionals who spoke on the occasion highlighted that the fatality rate among children with thalassaemia has been on the rise in Pakistan but young people from both genders motivated to get tested for this blood disorder before marriage would go a long way in reversing this trend.

They said that creating mass awareness about the severe blood disorder would be a step in the right direction to make Pakistan a thalassaemia-free country.

Saylani Trust CEO Madni Raza said that merely treatment and medication are not enough to combat genetic disorders like thalassaemia because people needed to have proper knowledge about such diseases as an effective means of prevention.

He lamented that several Nikah Khawan in the country do not have any knowledge about the law adopted for compulsory pre-marital thalassaemia screening in the country.

Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority (SBTA) Secretary Dr Durnaz Jamal stressed that the community fully support the government’s prevention and treatment efforts to overcome the thalassaemia disorder in Pakistan.

She urged the audience that pre-marital thalassaemia screening should be conducted on a compulsory basis. She said the community should fully back the government’s drive to implement the laws aimed at the prevention of genetic blood disorders.

She also said that a mass awareness campaign should be launched to persuade would-be couples to get tested for thalassaemia before their marriage on a compulsory basis. She added that the SBTA has been doing research on various aspects related to blood transfusion and related disorders.

Senior haematologist Dr Ghulam Sarwar informed the audience that the requirement of blood for transfusion services to treat the affected children has lately decreased at the Saylani Blood Bank and Thalassaemia Centre.

He said that at present 700 children are registered to get treatment services at the centre. In the past up to 1,600 pints of blood was required to treat them in a month, which has now decreased to 538 pints. This observation, he added, indicates that the best treatment and medication services have improved the health of the affected children. He also said research is being carried out to invent such medicines that would reduce the blood transfusion requirements for children with thalassaemia.

He urged would-be couples to undergo the pre-marital screening to ensure that their coming generation does not carry the thalassaemia major genes.