THALASSEMIA is an inherited blood disorder that causes the body to produce less haemoglobin, and diseases are consequently caused due to weakening and destruction of red blood cells.

It is the most common inherited blood disorder in the world.

In Pakistan, about 8,000 children are born with thalassemia major each year. Children with thalassemia major require ongoing treatment and blood transfusions throughout their lives. This makes not only the life of the patient miserable but also causes perpetual concern for their parents.

However, thalassemia minors require less aggressive treatment or no treatment at all and they live a normal life.

They do not experience any particular symptoms and normally do not get themselves tested owing to lack of awareness about the disorder.

If both the parents are thalassemia minors, their children are at a high risk of being thalassemia majors. Thus, the future generation can be saved from the disorder if marriages between thalassemia minors are discouraged.

Both the print and electronic media can play a pivotal role in spreading awareness about this blood disorder, especially among educated youth.

If youth get themselves tested for thalassemia minor status before signing marriage contracts, future generations can be saved from thalassemia major.

The government should start awareness programmes in colleges and universities, an effective legislation can also be brought in this regard to make Pakistan thalassemia-free.

ZAHEER ABBAS Islamabad

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