LAHORE - Like other parts of the world, International Thalassemia Day was observed across the country including Lahore yesterday for raising awareness about the condition and necessary precautions to avoid the hereditary disease.

The day is dedicated to commemorate Thalassaemia patients and give them a special chance to live their lives as a normal person.

This year theme was ‘Access to Safe and Effective Drugs in Thalassemia’. This year’s theme highlights the need to support policy decisions that safeguard health and reduce inequalities in the health field.

Thalassaemia is a genetic blood disorder in which children cannot make enough Red Blood Cells (RBCs) and needs to be supplemented with RBC transfusions every 2-3 weeks to stay healthy and to survive.

Care and blood test of girl and boy before marriage could save coming generations from inherited diseases. There are 50,000 registered patients of thalassemia in Pakistan while 10 million were carrier.

Various organizations arranged functions, seminars and walks to raise awareness about the hereditary disease and benefits of blood screening of young boys and girls before marriage.

In Lahore, Thalassemia Society of Pakistan and Sundas Foundation arranged a ceremony at Children Library Complex to mark the global event. Distinction of the event was that both the hosts and chief guests were Thalassemia patients.

Addressing the participants, General Secretary Thalassemia Society of Pakistan Dr Yasmeen Rashid stressed the need of raising public awareness to avoid the disease. She said that if the prevailing trends continued, Thalassemia would be a huge burden on the economy. She urged philanthropists to come forward and give a helping hand to the society for quality treatment of affected children.

Prof Javeria Manan urged the government to establish Thalassemia centres at DHQ Hospitals so that patirent did not need to come to big cities. She stressed the need of ensuring provision of blood transfusion facilities, free medicines and related items to the patients.