Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Screen for haemoglobin, not horoscopes, say docs

Pune: Matching the haemoglobin status of partners is more important than coordinating horoscopes, doctors say.

This would prevent thalassemia a genetic disease said spine surgeon Ajay Chandanwale, dean of B J Medical College, attached to the Sassoon General Hospital. He was speaking at an event to mark International Thalassemia Day here on Sunday.

Sassoon General hospital and Thalassemia Society, Pune chapter (TSPC), in association with blood banks, Indian Red Cross Society, Pune and Ruby Hall Clinic, felicitated doctors, medical social workers and supporters on Sunday.

Thalassemia is a genetic disease inherited by the child from both parents.. A child with thalassemia major needs blood transfusions every two to three weeks from the age of one.Premarital counselling of youngsters, mass screening tests and genetic counselling help to prevent thalassemia.

"Countries like Cyprus, Greece and Serbia have achieved 0% inheritance due to their efforts for prevention with the help of public participation. Iran has made premarital screening compulsory. In India, it is better to match the haemoglobin status rather than horoscopes before marriage to prevent Thalassemia," Chandanwale said.

At Sassoon hospital, doctors run a separate Thalassemia OPD and give free blood transfusion with chelation therapy (to reduce iron overload). Under the state-sponsored health scheme Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Aarogya Yojana, doctors at Sassoon provide expensive oral iron chelating drugs for free, pneumococcal vaccine, meningococcal vaccine and haemophilus influenza vaccine.

"We have 150 registered patients for treatment. Sassoon is well equipped with polymerase chain reaction for prenatal diagnosis of Thalassemia, and soon, we would start genetic laboratory to face the challenge of genetic diseases," Chandanwale said.

TSPC president Neeta Munshi said that a total 350 patients are registered with the society.

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