A deadly genetic disorder
What is Thalassemia? How is it caused?
Thalassemia is a deadly genetic disorder and it is caused by defective synthesis of haemoglobin. It is an inherited blood disease emanated by a mutation to the gene that directs the production of haemoglobin. Patients with Thalassemia produce abnormal haemoglobin that cannot transport enough oxygen to tissues.
What are the symptoms of Thalassemia that can help early diagnosis? a) Presence of less haemoglobin in the
blood. b) Hindered growth of baby and not in
proportion to age. c) Spleen gets enlarged causing bulging tummy in comparison to the body.
Is it a curable disorder? How is it treated? How can Thalassemia be prevented? Thalassemia is not a curable disorder. The maintenance treatment of Thalassemia is based mainly on the infusion of fresh blood to the affected patient along with administering of some iron chelating agent.
It can very easily be prevented by stopping the marriage between two Thalassemia carriers as the risk of birth of Thalassemia- positive baby occurs only when one Thalassemia carrier ties knot with another Thalassemia carrier.
According to statistics, every year approximately 8000- 10000 kids are born Thalassemia positive in India. What role can government play or is playing in the eradication of this disease?
The incidence of Thalassemia in India is very high as approx one in every twelve Indians is expected to be Thalassemia carrier. We can simply eradicate the chances of this disease through compulsory pre- marriage blood test of would-be couples and the Government can play a big role in this area through legislation i.e., by the way of enacting some effective Act as well as by increasing awareness not only in adults but also at schools or community levels. What is being emphasised is the spread of this campaign either through building up of Thalassemia Carrier Detection Centre or by utilising the existing infrastructure up to the village/ block level by the government, if need, by adopting PPP model as it is being successfully implemented in the case of eradication of Polio from the country. If given support of infrastructure, machinery and skilled manpower by the Government, Serum group would be interested in working with the Government.
You run SERUM Thalassemia Prevention Federation. What is your vision towards the cause? How is your federation addressing the issue and how are you spreading the awareness in the country?
Our solemn proclamation is to overpower and wipe out Thalassemia. So as not to hear a child say, “My eyes resembled my father, my smile bear resemblance to my mother, and my sad inheritance is their deadly genetic disease.” Throughout the year, Serum Thalassemia Prevention Federation organised several programmes like cultural, literary, religious, sports and games, open- air workshop, rally etc., but the ultimate and optimum goal of our organization is to reach out to as many people as possible to spread our awareness campaign against Thalassemia. The aim of our Federation is to reach to the last corner of the society so as to percolate the message that ‘Prevention’ is the only available cure for this deadly disease and for that we conduct the Thalassemia carrier detection through HPLC at our Lab.
Most children who bear Thalassemia in India are from the underprivileged strata of the society and, hence, are unable to bear the massive costs of treatment. How can we get past this major roadblock in order to make India Thalassemia- free?
It is a sad statement of fact that once someone gets caught with Thalassemia there is no other alternative but to replace the affected haemoglobin through the infusion of fresh blood the sourcing of which, at times, possesses problem especially to the needy but there is no other alternative available for the treatment of Thalassemia. To make our country get rid of this trouble forever the only possible way is to harp on the prevention again and again by way of only avoiding marriage between adults of Thalassemia carriers.
What services SERUM Group offer?
Serum Group is in the field of Diagnostic Laboratory for a pretty long time of eighteen years offering state of the art services in pathological tests covering all aspects of human diseases. Our stress is mainly laid on getting most modern equipment alongside experienced and qualified hands with best available reagents. The goal of the company is to provide affordable diagnostic services with unques - tionable quality.
In brief, we placed here statistics of Thalassemia carrier detection test by our Lab of more than 2.5 lakhs people in the last decade of which nearly 15% are found to be the carrier. This alone speaks volume about our efforts in prevention of the spread of Thalassemia in the country.
Tell us about the journey of SERUM Group so far?
From a very humble beginning about eighteen years back, SERUM Group is today recognized as one of the top brands in this country who are in the business of diagnostic services. We feel that our journey has just begun and we have many miles to go before we try to assess our achievements. We are very much concerned about our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and indulge in a lot of activities to alleviate the condition of the downtrodden of the society. Our passion lies in ensuring good health and prosperity to all the sections of the society.