“Thalassemia” is a genetically inherited, non-curable but easily preventable disease in which normal hemoglobin level in a patient is partially or completely surpass and necessitates blood transfusion approximately at month intervals. The safest approach to prevent the birth of a Thalassemia child is for the carrier of the gene to marry a non-carrier. For this reason conducting blood screening to people allows to identify the disease. However, Treatment for Thalassemia is costly and it needs life-long therapy as the life span of a patient is limited depending on the continuity of the treatment they receive. This condition only can be seen in the majority of underprivileged families. As other chronic and incurable diseases it causes major public health problems mentally, physically and emotionally between the patients and families.
According to the current status of Sri Lanka, the majority of patients have been identified in the district of Kurunegala, Batticaloa, Puttalam and Badulla estimating 2000-2500 severe cases in the island. Averages of 80 are born with this disease equivalent to a child every 04 day. In present time, there has been recognition for ‘Prevention and Rehabilitation’ to manage and control the spread of the disease.
Therefore, Caritas Sri Lanka – SEDEC partnering with Caritas Kurunegala, Caritas Batticaloa, Caritas Chilaw, and Caritas Badulla implement a project on mitigating Thalassemia under the funding of Misereor, Germany. This programme has been benefited 975 direct beneficiaries and 3900 indirect beneficiaries in the above Dioceses.
The goal of this project is to raise awareness’s of and mitigation of Thalassemia disease by improving the quality of life of the affected family. In order to achieve it Caritas Sri Lanka decided to raise awareness’s of Thalassemia disease in selected vulnerable villages in 4 dioceses, to identify children and other with the disease in consultation with medical teams of respective hospitals in the 4 dioceses, to identify and provide medical assistance to selected children from low income families and mitigate the effects of the disease, to raise public awareness’s and advocacy at the district level about the effects of Thalassemia disease and lastly to provide counseling support for affected persons and their families to improve their morale and mental wellbeing.