A Bengaluru hospital and two non-profit organisations achieved a milestone last week by saving the lives of 50 children suffering from Thalassemia, the Times of India reported (ToI).
The treatment was done at a subsidised cost and even free for some patients.
What is Thalassemia? It is an inherited blood disorder where the body generates an abnormal form of haemoglobin, which is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, leading to anaemia.
It is estimated that 30 million people in India alone are affected from birth by Thalassemia, and it constitutes one of the most common genetic diseases worldwide.
The Sankalp India Foundation, a Bengaluru-based youth-driven organisation working for blood donation, thalassemia and disaster relief.
Cure2Children, an NGO that helps children with cancer and severe blood disorders in remote regions gain access to a local, affordable, and reliable cure for their condition.
And the People Tree Hospital.
Fifty children were saved through successful bone marrow transplants done either at free or a minimum cost over the last two years.
“Thalassemia is a disease that requires a child to take blood transfusion almost every month. Sadly, this repeated blood transfusion results in several complications, besides putting the child at risk of contracting other deadly infections,” said Dr Supraja Chandrashekar, the lead paediatrician at People Tree Hospitals to ToI.
Dr Supraja Chandrashekar says that bone marrow transplants can reduce such complications. A bone marrow or cord blood transplant replaces unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy ones.
Stating that successful bone marrow transplant rates are low in the country due to lack of adequate awareness, she added, “A lot of effort goes into educating the public as well as preparing these children for receiving the transplant. Once the kids are ready, they come to our hospital and get the transplant done at free of cost or a subsidised cost,” said Dr Supraja.