What is Thalassemia?
Thalassemia is an abnormality of the blood which is due to the inability of a new born child to form normal Hemoglobin. In such cases the child needs to receive transfusion of blood, once in a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 3 weeks. If the transfusion is not done, then it can be fatal for the child, as he reaches the age of 5. The red blood cells that have the Hemoglobin molecule are not healthy. This disease is inherited through defective genes. It is not passed on from one patient to another by any type of contact or blood transfusion or air or food. The cure of this is not 100% sure but the only option available is stem cell transplantation.
Facts about Thalassemia
It is said that in people of African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, South Asian or Chinese origin, Thalassemia exists in 2 categories, minor and major. People who suffer from minor Thalassemia may not be anemic. They may not even require blood transfusion. They may need iron therapy if they have its deficiency. Major Thalassemia exhibits as severe anemic conditions in the patient. The child during his first year of life is unable to produce normal hemoglobin. Children suffering from this disease are unable to grow normally; they are not able to thrive and they have chronic fatigue. If the child does not receive regular blood transfusion, he will suffer from bone deformities and there is a possibility of death before the age of 10 years. Without regular blood transfusion the patient cannot survive and too much of blood transfusion accumulates iron in the heart and liver. This excess iron has to be removed from the body. Treatments today are more advanced and the patients are able to live normal lives but with regular blood transfusion. To detect Thalassemia a blood test called Hemoglobin Electrophoresis has to be conducted. If both parents carry Thalassemia then there are chances that the child too may be a carrier. At present the only treatment for this disease is pump infusion therapy.
Providing free medicines for Thalassemia patients
India Relief India Trust is an NGO that conducts blood donation camps for Thalassemia patients and provides this blood to various hospitals for patients totally free of cost. Medicines and injections are provided to hospitals specifically for those Thalassemia patients free of cost who cannot afford the cost of the medicine. The organization, through various media create awareness of the disease, in rural areas and keep them informed about the availability of free treatment, medical and family help at their centers.