International Thalassaemia Day is annually observed across the globe on 8th May to raise awareness about Thalassaemia, a genetic blood disorder caused when the body doesn’t make enough of a protein called haemoglobin, an important part of red blood cells.
- The theme of International Thalassaemia Day 2023 is “Be Aware. Share. Care: Strengthening Education to Bridge the Thalassaemia Care Gap”.
Objective of the Day:
i. To increase understanding and knowledge about thalassaemia, its symptoms, and its impact on individuals, families, and communities and show support for those who live with it.
ii. To promote the importance of early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and ongoing support for people living with this blood disorder and healthcare professionals involved in their care.
In 1994, the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) proclaimed the 8th May of every year as the International Thalassaemia Day to remember all the Thalassemia patients who fought the disease and lost their life.
The day was established in the memory of George, the son of TIF’s President and Founder, Panos Englezos.
- The first ever International Thalassaemia Day was observed on 8th May 1994.
i. Thalassaemia is a genetic blood disorder that affects the production of haemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood.
ii. People with thalassemia produce either no or too little haemoglobin and may have mild or severe anaemia. Severe anaemia can damage organs and lead to death.
Types of Thalassaemia:
i. Alpha thalassemia occurs when a gene or genes related to the alpha globin protein are missing or changed (mutated).
ii. Beta thalassemia occurs when similar gene defects affect production of the beta globin protein.
- Beta type is the most severe one.
Thalassemia is caused when faulty genes prevent your body from making the right amount of alpha globin or beta globin chains. When this happens, red blood cells cannot carry enough oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues.
Other associated health issues:
Thalassemia major damages the heart, liver, lungs and endocrine organs due to anaemia and iron accumulation, in addition Thalassemia cause mental and social problems.
Thalassemia signs and symptoms can include: Fatigue, weakness, paleness and slow growth, Facial bone deformities, abdominal swelling, Dark urine.
About Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF):
The Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 1986
President & Founder– Panos Englezos
Headquarters– Strovolos, Nicosia, Cyprus