President Alvi urges community action to combat thalassemia

Says Pakistan has 26.2m children out of schools: Neighbouring countries India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have accomplished almost 100 per cent enrollment rate

LAHORE   -  President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday em­phasised the necessity of community ef­forts in preventing thalassemia among children, advocating for mandatory test­ing before marriage. He was addressing a prize distribution ceremony of Sundas Foundation, as a chief guest, held here at Governor’s House. Director Sundas Foun­dation Khalid Abbas Dar, President Yas­een Khan, renowned journalists Sohail Warraich, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami and Salman Ghani also attended the event.

In his address, President Alvi quoted the example of England regarding suc­cess in thalassemia control due to proper awareness, while Pakistan had to face shortage of blood donations for thalas­semia children, adding that even with extensive campaigns, this shortage could not be overcome. Alvi further said that Pakistan has 26.2 million children out of schools, while our neighbouring coun­tries India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have accomplished almost 100 per cent enrollment rate. He said that Pakistan built 50,000 schools in Punjab since its inception, while the state needed equal number of more schools to educate such a large number of children. He said that Pakistan has more than 2.5 lakh mosques, and proposed that those could be used as educational centres to address the issue.

He said: “Holy Prophet Hazrat Muham­mad (Peace Be Upon Him) gave status of community centres to mosques and Islam gave us golden principles for so­ciety; we all should get inspiration from Quran and Sunnah”. China made progress and achieved prosperity by focusing on education and health of its population. He said Pakistan has the fifth biggest popula­tion in the world, which has immense po­tential for growth. The president stressed the best utilisation of this workforce.

Thanking the people working for thalas­semia elimination and serving humanity, he said that they are our heroes and they would stand honoured before Almighty Allah; they should be given respect, and recognition of their services. Dr. Arif Alvi lauded the philanthropic individuals and organisations for their generous financial support towards the treatment of these otherwise expensive medical conditions.

President Sundas Foundation Yaseen Khan said that the foundation was a lead­ing non-profit organisation dedicated to voluntary blood transfusion services and treatment of thalassemia, hemophilia, and other blood-related diseases for the last 26 years. The Sundas Foundation, through its 11 centres all-over Pakistan, is providing 250-300 blood bags everyday i.e. around 30,000 per annum. He empha­sised the critical importance of contin­ued support from the public, particularly during the holy month of Ramzan, urging individuals to come forward for blood donation and financial assistance for pre­vention and treatment of thallasemia.

The president distributed certificates of appreciation among individuals, organ­isations, and societies actively involved in free treatment and blood donation ini­tiatives for thalassemia and hemophilia patients. Colonel (retd) Syed Ahmed Nadeem Qadri, Chief Operating Officer of Nawa-i-Waqt Group, was also given award by the President in recognition of his services to humanity. Senior Journalist and Patron of Sundus Foundation Sohail Waraich, President Yasin Khan and Direc­tor Sundus Foundation Khalid Abbas Dar also addressed the event.

Col (retd) Syed Ahmad Nadeem Qadri speaking on this occasion said that it is a great honour for him to receive this award while serving humanity. He said that his association with Sundus Foundation is more than twenty years old. President of Sundus Foundation for Thalassemia Pa­tients Yasin Khan’s selfless services are highly appreciated. Sundus Foundation is a beacon of life and hope for Thalas­semia patients. Colonel Qadri further said that the newly elected National Assembly would pass legislation to make thalas­semia test mandatory before marriage to prevent further spread of the disease.

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