On the 8th of May, 2024, Caritas USCOD Badulla, supported by Misereor, hosted the Commemoration of International Thalassemia Day at the Riverside Hotel in Badulla. This event, held from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM, brought together various stakeholders and beneficiaries to raise awareness about Thalassemia and support those affected by the condition.

The event saw the participation of 7 male and 18 female beneficiaries, along with 2 DC Directors, 4 Program coordinators, and 30 other stakeholders. The primary objective was to remember and highlight the importance of Thalassemia Day, motivating and educating participants about the condition.

Dr. Gayan Cooray, the Deputy Director of the Teaching Hospital in Badulla, was the resource person for the event. He emphasised the increasing number of Thalassemia patients in the Uva Province. Dr. Cooray stressed the need for awareness about the genetic factors leading to the birth of Thalassemia carriers, stating, “The number of Thalassemia patients is increasing in Uva Province. To minimise this, awareness regarding the facts behind the birth of Thalassemia carrying babies has to be done.”

Direct observations from the event highlighted the positive impact on government officials who attended, gaining a better understanding of Thalassemia and expressing their commitment to public awareness. Thalassemia carriers who participated shared their experiences, finding relief and support through the program.

The celebration included the distribution of support packs containing essential food items and educational supplies, providing practical assistance to the affected families. Participants expressed their gratitude to Caritas for organizing the event and showed willingness to help spread awareness about minimising the birth of Thalassemia carriers. Medical officers specializing in Thalassemia are also promised to collaborate closely with Caritas in this effort.

Special highlights of the event included the participation of Dr. Gayan Cooray, whose presence added significant value. The Director of the USCOD Centre in Badulla emphasized the importance of compassionate treatment for Thalassemia carriers and efforts to reduce new cases. Dr. Milton conducted a session on psycho-social well-being, offering much-needed support to the carriers.

The event concluded on a hopeful note, with all participants motivated to work together to combat Thalassemia. Caritas USCOD Badulla expressed gratitude to Misereor and all attendees for their support and participation in making the event a success.