ISLAMABAD: Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has informed the parliament that the exact number of thalassemia patients in the country is not known as no national baseline survey has ever been conducted.

However, according to estimates 100,000 thalassemia major patients exist in the country.

NHS’s response came after Member of National Assembly (MNA) Ms Nusrat Wahid asked the ministry about the total number of thalassamia patients in the country.

“The federal government does not have a programme but in Punjab an effective Thalassemia Prevention Programme is functioning which includes genetic counseling services, extended family screening and prenatal testing and screening,” the written reply states.

Thalassemia is of three types: minor, major and intermedia.

The disease causes the body to stop making red blood cells due to which blood is given to patients. The only cure for it is a ‘bone marrow transplant’ which is not only very expensive but also requires a donor.

The disease can be detected with a simple blood test.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019