Timely detection and prevention of Thalassemia stressed in India

Indian health ministry emphasizes on critical need for wide awareness on Thalassemia among the masses; launches an awareness video

ThalassemiaApurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stressed on the importance of timely detection and prevention of Thalassemia to tackle the disease. He stated that only by preventing it at the right time, can the burden of this disease be curtailed.

The Union Health Secretary was speaking at an event to mark the International Thalassemia Day, on May 8.

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Health Secretary stated, “Timely detection and prevention are the most effective strategies to tackle Thalassemia.” He added that there are almost 1 lakh Thalassemia patients in the country, with approximately 10,000 new cases reported each year. He emphasized on the urgency for proactive intervention aided by timely detection through screening.

Shri Apurva Chandra also highlighted the critical need for wide awareness around the subject. He stated that “Still many people are unaware of this disease and how this can be prevented. It is imperative that all stakeholders in this arena collaborate for a nationwide campaign to enhance awareness on Thalaseemia”. As a significant step in this direction, he launched a video made in collaboration with the Indian Association of Pediatrics and Thalassemics India to promote effective prevention methods and optimal treatment for Thalassemia.

Union Health Secretary also advocated for inclusion of compulsory Thalassemia testing in the existing reproductive and child health (RCH) programs under NHM as a means to curtail the prevalence of the disease. He added that some states have included this in their public health programs and activities; other states will be urged to include and expand screening and testing for Thalassemia.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes a body to have less hemoglobin than normal. Celebrated every year, International Thalassemia Day serves as a crucial platform to emphasize the importance of disease prevention, raise awareness, sensitize stakeholders, promote early detection, and ensure quality care for those affected by thalassemia. This year’s theme, “Empowering Lives, Embracing Progress: Equitable and Accessible Thalassemia Treatment for All,” encapsulates the collective mission toward universal access to comprehensive Thalassemia care.

Ms. Aradhana Patnaik, AS&MD (NHM); Dr. G. V. Basavaraja, President, Indian Academy of Pediatrics; Ms. Shobha Tuli, Secretary, Thalassemics India; Dr. Manas Kalra, Honorary Secretary, PHO Chapter of IAP and other senior officials from Union Health Ministry were present on the occasion.

(With inputs from The OnLook News Research Bureau)

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