Blood Donations: A ray of hope for thalassemia patients

ISLAMABAD-Thalassemia is a genetic blood illness that affects millions of people around the world, resulting in a lack of hemoglobin production and chronic anemia. The need for regular blood transfusions is a painful reality for those suffering from the disease. 
However, in the midst of this medical crisis, a group of unsung heroes emerges: blood donors. By donating the priceless gift of blood, these generous individuals provide a lifeline of hope to thalassemia patients.
Blood is a thalassemia patient’s lifeline. Their bodies struggle to create enough healthy red blood cells, forcing patients to rely on blood transfusions on a regular basis in order to survive and lead a relatively normal life. Without these transfusions, thalassemia patients can endure significant weariness, weakness, and even fatal complications.
Ateeq Afridi, Founder of Act of Kindness Pakistan, a non-profit NGO for the welfare of orphan kids, a blood donor who not only donate blood but also help Jamila sultana foundation in setting up blood donation camps country wide said that he had visited several educational institutes to educate students to donate blood if it is not possible for you that’s ok but go through blood screening test at least to monitor overall health which is also helpful in diagnosing medical condition. 
He had observed that all stakeholders should come forward and play their vital role to prevent thalassemia. The only treatment of this disease is bone marrow transplant which is very expensive. A poor cannot afford the expenses of this treatment. Thalassemia treatment should also be included in Sehat card to provide financial assistance to such patients.
Punjab Assembly had passed the legislation that before marriage thalassemia test is important because when two minor thalassemia prey opposite gender marries, their child will be born with major thalassemia. The disease is spreading at large due to cousin marriages. The disease is transferring through genetics. There is dire need to implement the legislation to curb the disease. 
He said that there are more than thousand thalassemia children registered with Jamila founder who is working specifically for the welfare of such children. They are daily provided blood and medicines. 
Mahnoor Qureshi, a well-known anchor, Programming Manager at FM 100 and a health reporter said that blood donors are ray of hope for thalassemia patient because they survive through blood donors. 
She said the disease is not only affecting the person who is suffering, it is also affecting his family, generation and community. She urges people to go through this very important blood screen test before marriage for knowing their overall health. She said people shouldn’t allow for marriage until they submit their positive medical report.
Aftab Hussain, Air Vice Marshal (R) and Director of Sundus Foundation Thalassemia center, Islamabad said the center was established in June 2018 in the capital. It is currently providing free treatment to more than 555 thalassemic and 110 Hemophilia patients belonging to Islamabad Rawalpindi, KP, Swat, AJK and Jhelum.
The treatment includes on the average 3 blood transfusions per month along with iron chelating therapy to keep the iron level within acceptable limits. He said, “The purpose of establishing the center was to offer totally free of cost treatment to thalassemic patients who belonged to underprivileged families in Islamabad and suburbs with safe blood transfusions and uninterrupted medics and testing.” 
Aftab Hussain said, “The foundation has also set the tradition of volunteer blood donations. Around 600-800 blood bags are transfused per month.”
“The main source of donors is students of colleges and universities. This center also collects blood donations from Pakistan Air Force bases, Punjab police, Islamabad police and many other community-based organizations,” he informed.
 Aftab Hussain said that before collecting blood from donor, a complete medical check is undertaken by qualified doctor after blood donation. The donor is awarded with blood donation certificate and feedback regarding some chronic diseases like HIV Hepatitis B and C Siphlus and Malaria.” 
 “The media can play a major role in creating awareness about thalassemia disease and also to pass legislation for a compulsory thalassemia test before marriage for all,” he urged. The blood donors are the unsung heroes in the fight against thalassemia. Their selfless act of kindness provides patients the hope and vigor.