ANDHRA PRADESH

Blood for those who need it most

Santosh Patnaik

VISAKHAPATNAM: These children can lead a normal life provided they get blood transfusion on regular basis and their parents get proper counselling on how to manage red blood cell count.

About 100 children suffering from thalassemia hailing from North Andhra, South Orissa and South Chhattisgarh are being treated at the Centre for Thalassemia set up three years ago at the A.S. Raja Blood Bank.

The Centre is trying its best to give them blood whenever they need it.

Thalassemia is a form of anaemia caused mainly by faulty synthesis of a part of the haemoglobin molecule.

Transfusion of red blood cell is common in various types of thalassemia to provide temporary supply of healthy red blood cell with normal haemoglobin.

In most cases, mother and father are the carriers of the disease.

Children face the problem with regard to growth though their IQ is normal. They need rich diet and regular monitoring of haemoglobin level.

Frequency

On an average, thalassemic patients need transfusion once in 15 days -- some ranging form once in a week to two months depending on the haemoglobin count.

"We take care to maintain haemoglobin level at 10 m.g.by constantly keeping in touch with the parents and their guardians," A.S. Raja Blood Bank medical director A. Sugandhi told The Hindu .

Foundation plans

She said they were also making efforts to set up a Thalassemia Foundation in the city. The foundation will help take up proper research on the disease and its management.

She said as the children grew, their requirement generally came down.

"Unfortunately, most patients are from poor families. Every time they get a transfusion, their parents think there is no need to visit the blood bank again," she said.