CHENNAI: Sardar and Saina Beghum, a couple from Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, had no idea as to what Thalassaemia disorder was. They did not realise the severity of the disorder, or that it could turn fatal, until doctors in the city explained to them. The couple was among the many who gathered at an event at Voluntary Health Services (VHS) Hospital, organised by the Apollo Hospitals, on World Thalassaemia Day recently.
“Irfan Basha (9), my elder son, was diagnosed with the disorder when he was six months’ old. He always used to fall sick, had difficulty in breathing, swollen tummy, etc. His skin used to turn pale. Doctors at Nellore told us he had some blood disorder and that we had to do a blood transfusion. Since then, every month, we went for blood transfusion procedure. When my second son, Harshath Basha was born, doctors said that he too had the same problem,” said Saina Beghum. “Then someone referred us to Chennai doctors who told us how serious the problem was,” added Sardar.
“When we tested the two, we found that the younger son (Harshath) was not suffering from the same disorder as his brother. So, we found he was the right match for bone marrow donation for his brother, and did the procedure for Irfan three years ago. Now, he is completely cured of the disorder and is leading a normal life,” said Dr Revathi Raj, senior consultant, Paediatric Haematology, at VHS and Apollo Hospital.
What is Thalassaemia?
It is a genetic blood disorder characterised by the abnormal formation of haemoglobin in the red blood cells of the body.
Prenatal tests will help detect Thalassaemia gene.
Dr Revathi added that about 10,000 children are born with Thalassaemia every year in India, but most parents ignored the symptoms of the disorder as there was no awareness. J Radhakrishnan, State Health Secretary, said that there was no awareness about Thalassaemia among the rural community in Tamil Nadu even today. The State Government should train nurses in Primary Health Centres in villages about Thalassaemia, so that they can educate the communities, he added.
Preetha Reddy, managing director of the Apollo Hospitals, also spoke on the occasion.