Thalassaemia test may be a must in capital

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 11:00:19 by

ISLAMABAD, May 28: The government is working on a summary to make pre-marital test for thalassaemia mandatory to check the spread of the disease in the federal capital, it has been learnt.

According to a senior health official in the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), Islamabad has over 600 thalassaemia patients being treated at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims).

The financial burden of treating the patients is being managed by a few non-governmental organsitaions.

“We are working on a strategy paper to make Islamabad a model health city, and as part of this project, a summary is being prepared to make thalassaemia test mandatory for every couple before they get married to reduce the incidence of the disease,” Secretary CADD Imtiaz Inayat Elahi told Dawn.

He said the summary was being prepared by the officials of the public sector hospital and CADD.

“If the summary is approved, we will be able to successfully reduce the incidence of thalassaemia transmission without stigmatising women who are often dubbed as the carriers of the disease,” added Mr Elahi.

Executive Director Pims Prof Mahmood Jamal added: “The couples will be barred from marriage once it is clear through blood tests that they are the carriers of the disease. The proposed summary is only for the ICT’s rural and urban areas.”

To ensure the implementation of the proposed law, he said, the local administration would not register the marriage.

However, in case there is a baby born with the disease he will be treated.

For Hamid Hussain’s 10-year-old son Hamza, the expense of treatment is increasing day by day.

“You have to have around Rs200,00 to Rs250,00 per month for the treatment because to remove the iron from the blood
needs medication which are also costly,” said Hussain, a resident of AJK.

During transfusion of blood, according to a physician, the iron in body starts increasing and is stored in the body, creating
trouble for the thalassaemia patients.

About 800 patients are registered with the Children Hospital’s thalassaemia centre, whose treatment cost around Rs50
million to Rs60 million.

“If both the parents are carriers, they can pass the disease to their children; however, it is not a contagious disease,” added the physician.

She said blood transfusion was needed for the children for a number of times which was supportive treatment.

“But for a curative treatment, the only option available is a bone marrow transplantation,” she added.

Islamabad News Sources

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