Dow University of Health Sciences established Thalassaemia Care Centre at its Ojha Campus. His Excellency, Governor Sindh & Chancellor, DUHS Dr. Ishrat Ul Ibad Khan inaugurated the Centre at a Ceremony held recently at Governor House, Karachi. Prof. Dr. Masood Hameed Khan, Vice Chancellor, Prof. M. Umer Farooq, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr. Zeenat Ayoob, Registrar, Prof. Dr. Akbar Agha, Director, DAP, Syndicate Members, Professors, Senior Faculty Member of the University were present on the occasion.
Governor Sindh, Dr. Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan speaking as the Chief Guest said that according to WHO, Thalassaemia is found in more than 60 countries with a carrier population of 250 million people worldwide and 2,000,000 are affected Thalassemia Major Patients. He further said that In Pakistan the highest frequency of Beta Thalassaemia trait is reported in Sindh and Punjab. Every year 6,000 patients are born with a severe form of this disease with 10 million carriers that pass the disease on to the next generation. There is a need to control and prevent the increasing burden of Thalassaemia in our population. This can be achieved by mass screening and awareness programs, counseling of patients and their families and providing state of art care to the Thalassaemia patients. According to Government of Sindh the policy has been implemented through Sindh Provincial Assembly legislation, made a Law for Pre-Marriage screening to stop marriages in between 2 Thalassaemia Minor partners.
On the occasion, he announced 10 million grant for Dow Thalassaemia Care Centre. He also announced the establishment of Thalassaemia Care Centres in the interior of Sindh in next couple of months. Govt of Sindh has given the priorty to the health sector and allocated physicians for the prevention, screening and treatment of those suffering from Thalassaemia. He also appealed to the philanthropist to make generous donation for Thalassaemia care centre in order to make provide treatment to the suffering of the patients. He urged the doctors and para medical staff of Thalassaemia care centre to provide best medical care to their patients.
Appreciating the efforts of Vice Chancellor of DUHS Professor Masood Hameed Khan and the faculty of DUHS, he said that the team of DUHS is always keen to stand up for the health related problems of general public (community). He also acknowledged the efforts of DUHS for launching the public awareness program as a national cause for the prevention and the treatment of Thalassaemia.
Prof. Dr. Masood Hameed Khan, Vice Chancellor, DUHS in his address said that Dow Institute of haematology (DIH)” has been established in the premises of Ojha Campus of Dow University of health Sciences to provides services in haematology, transfusion medicine, research and diagnostics. It serves as a resource centre to provide blood and its products in affordable price for transfusion requirements. This institute is involved in multiple postgraduate training programs like M.Phil (haematology) leading to PhD and MS. in Transfusion Medicine and Tissue Typing.
The objective was to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services related to haematology and transfusion medicine for patients with haematological and non haematological disorders, to support in research and development activities within as well as outside university to provide teaching and training at all levels and to support liver transplantation and Jinnah Genome Projects of DUHS.
Dow-TAP, Thalassemia Assistance Program Major Components includes Awareness, Screening, Diagnosis (Premarital & Prenatal), Technical support/co-operation with other Thalassemia organizations and Genetic counseling.
There is dire need of sensitization, information and education of the population at risk. The role of the Authorities, The role of the Associations of parents and patients, The role of Mass Media, The role of the Mosque/Moulana, The role of the School and Teacher is very important to overcome this problem.
Dr. Zainab Mukhtar, Consultant, Transfusion and Transplantation Scientist and Project Manager DUHS- Safe Blood Transfusion Services Project said that Globally Only 45% of the 81 million units of blood collected annually are from the developing world, where 80% of the world’s population lives. Blood transfusion has been identified as a key life-saving function. In developing countries, up to 150,000 pregnancy-related deaths can be avoided through safe blood transfusions. Unsafe blood transfusion remains a major but frequently neglected contributor to the global spread of HIV and Hepatitis B & C.
Briefing the situation of Pakistan, She informed that Pakistan has a fragmented Blood Transfusion system. Around 1.5 million units of blood are transfused annually. Only 50 % of the 1.5 million blood bags are screened. 80-85% of blood transfused as whole blood.