Campaign to focus on pre-marital testing
Dubai, April 17, 2008
Following on last year’s enormously successful ‘Tour of Hope’, the UAE’s Thalassemia community will launch ‘Hope Continues’, a campaign that will call for increased awareness of the need for pre-marital blood testing, as well as greater volumes of blood donation.
Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder, is a highly prevalent disease in the UAE but can easily be prevented with a simple and inexpensive blood test. Thalassemia carriers are healthy people and can have healthy children, but they should not marry other carriers as they risk producing children with Thalassemia Major, said an official spokesman.
“This year, the UAE’s Thalassemia community will be calling for increased awareness of the need for pre-marital blood tests and greater volumes of blood donation. The legislation of pre-marital blood tests in other parts of the region has contributed to the prevention of Thalassemia, and we want the UAE to be a part of this,” said director, Thalassemia Centre, Dubai Health Authority, Dr Khawla Belhoul.
“Effective prevention programmes have been demonstrated throughout Europe as well. In the past 20 years, no new cases of Thalassemia have been reported in Cyprus because carriers were identified through a simple blood test and were not allowed to marry another carrier.
“We also require greater volumes of blood to be donated so we are able to supply patients with the life-saving transfusions they need every three weeks. We want to encourage everyone to donate blood at the Blood Donation Centers or take part in one of our many blood drives throughout the year.
“Ultimately, we want to improve the service UAE Thalassemia patients are receiving, not just in Dubai but across the entire country,” Dr Belhoul added.
International Thalassemia Day takes place every year on May 8, but the UAE have scheduled their event on May 3, 2008, at the Dubai Creek Park, a date and time they believe will be more convenient and accessible for a greater number of UAE participants.
Thalassemia patients and families attending the May 3, 2008, event will participate in an educational lecture presented by doctors from across the UAE, and will then have an opportunity to ask questions about treatment updates. The evening will be devoted to entertainment and leisure activities. – TradeArabia News Service