World Thalassemia Day: India reports 10,000 new cases each year

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The Union health ministry on Wednesday stressed on the importance of timely detection and prevention of thalassemia to tackle the disease. Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra, speaking at an event to mark the International Thalassemia Day, advocated for inclusion of compulsory thalassemia testing in the existing reproductive and child health (RCH) programmes under NHM as a means to curtail the prevalence of the disease.

Highlighting that almost one lakh Thalassemia patients in the country with approximately 10,000 new cases reported each year, Mr Chandra said “Timely detection and prevention are the most effective strategies to tackle thalassemia.”. He also highlighted the need for wide awareness regarding the disease.

Health secretary said many people are still unaware of this disease and how it can be prevented. “It is imperative that all stakeholders in this arena collaborate for a nationwide campaign to enhance awareness on thalassemia,” he said.

As a step in this direction, he launched a video made in collaboration with the Indian Association of Pediatrics and Thalassemic India to promote effective prevention methods and optimal treatment for thalassemia. He added that some states have included this in their public health programmes and activities; other states will be urged to include and expand screening and testing for the disease.