IN Cyprus approximately 620 people suffer with thalassaemia, while 15 million people have the disease worldwide, Volunteer Commissioner Yiannis Yiannakis said on Thursday.
He was speaking on the occasion of World Thalassaemia Day on May 8 which was established with the aim of raising public awareness and promoting scientific research to further improve prevention.
“The close cooperation of all – health services, the medical community, voluntary and non-governmental organisations and the Cyprus Anti-anaemic association – has resulted in the establishment of an effective national control programme and an effort is made to ensure the provision of the necessary amount of blood for the treatment of patients is made through voluntary blood donations,” Yiannakis said.
Sometimes there is a shortage of blood during holiday periods but also because advances in medicine mean that a lot of treatments for various other diseases also require blood, something that was not the case years ago.
When two carriers have children there is a 25 per cent chance that each will develop a severe form of the disease. Those who do need to have lifelong treatment, with monthly or bimonthly blood transfusions to maintain normal haemoglobin levels. The treatment of thalassaemia is aimed at addressing the basic symptoms and complications of the disease which are anaemia, severe bone lesions and growth inhibition. Without treatment, the illness is life-threatening.