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World Thalassemia Day 2022: What is thalassaemia and why is it observed annually?

The International Thalassaemia Day is marked annually on May 8 devoted to raising awareness about Thalassemia being a blood disorder, debunk myths related and help the patients lead a normal life.

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The day honours the life of individuals who are living with this disease while also dealing with the social stigma attached. It also honours the efforts of doctors and medical professionals to help the patients and bring advancements.

What is Thalassemia?

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder passed down to a child from either one of the parents or both.

The body of a person suffering from thalassemia makes less haemoglobin than that of a normal person.

Haemoglobin is one of the most important iron-rich proteins present in red blood cells. It is responsible for carrying oxygen to the different parts of the body.

When there is not enough haemoglobin, the body’s red blood cells don’t function properly, which causes anaemia.

There are different types of thalassemia, and the treatment of this disease depends upon the type and severity. The impact of this disease can range from mild to severe to life-threatening in some cases.

How was International Thalassaemia Day conceived?

World Thalassemia Day came into existence in 1994 after the Thalassemia International Federation (TIF) designated May 8 as International Thalassemia Day.

What is the theme for 2022?

“Be Aware, Share, Care: Working with the global community as one to improve thalassaemia knowledge’’.

The theme aims to inspire every individual to contribute, at a personal level, to the fight against thalassaemia and share essential information and knowledge for support.

Can it be cured or prevented?

Stem cell or bone marrow transplants are the only cure for thalassaemia, but they’re not done very often because of the significant risks involved.

How many cases are there?

Globally, it is estimated that there are 270 million carriers with abnormal haemoglobins and thalassemia.

Recent surveys suggest that between 300,000 and 400,000 babies are born with a serious haemoglobin disorder each year and that up to 90 per cent of these births occur in low- or middle-income countries.

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