Expressing concern over the growing number of Thalassemia patients in the country, experts on Friday called for testing blood before marriage to prevent the disease.
They came up with the call at a press conference jointly organised by the Directorate General of Health Services and Bangladesh Thalassemia Foundation (BTF) at the Jatiya Press Club.
BTF Adviser and Public Administration Ministry Joint Secretary Dr Md Aminul Islam who is on post-retirement leave said they have taken many initiatives marking the ‘Mujib Borsho’ to prevent the disease in the country.
He underscored the need for raising awareness among people to prevent it, saying media can play an important role in this regard.
Citing World Health Organization (WHO), Aminul said some 7 percent people of total population are carriers of Thalassemia in Bangladesh. Around 7,000 children are born with the disease every year.
“We have no exact data on how many patients of the disease are there in Bangladesh. But according to International Thalassemia Federation, around 60,000 people are carrying Thalassemia in Bangladesh. The disease turns rich men into paupers. A patient needs one or two bags blood in every month to survive,” he added.
He also said they will create a volunteers’ group with 10,000 blood donors soon.
“We’ll hold seminars with local and internal experts concerned at different places, including education institutions and ministries, to create awareness in a short time. Besides, we’ll award journalists who played an important role in this regard,” he said.
Blood disease expert Prof Dr Monzur Morshed said there is a shortage of skilled manpower and medical equipment to serve patients with this disease.
Former Cultural Affairs Secretary and Patron of BTF Aktari Momtaj said Thalassemia is a blood-related genetic disorder. “So, awareness is most important before marriage to make a Thalassemia-free Bangladesh.”
“Thalassemia is a preventable disease. It occurs only when both the parents carry the thalassemia gene. In such families, the probability of having a thalassemia-affected baby in each pregnancy is 25 percent. However, if either partner is healthy, children will not be affected at all,” she added.
Deputy Project Manager of Health Ministry Dr Shahnaj Parvez and BTF Registrar Abu Selim were, among others, present.