Thalassemia Patients Face Challenges In Balochistan

Thalassemia Patients Face Challenges In Balochistan
Thalassaemia is a hereditary blood disorder, which leads to a deficiency of red blood cells and insufficient haemoglobin levels in the body. Haemoglobin plays a vital role as it enables red blood cells to transport oxygen to all parts of the body.

Similarly, the lack of awareness regarding thalassaemia in our society has contributed to the increasing number of cases in Pakistan. As a resident of Balochistan, I have personally witnessed the immense difficulties faced by those affected by thalassaemia, particularly the innocent children in Turbat.

Thalassaemia presents an escalating challenge for society, and fortunately, other provinces have taken proactive measures to address this pressing issue by raising awareness among their populations. However, Balochistan, being the largest province in the country, is grappling with the rising burden of thalassaemia, particularly in Turbat. Furthermore, both the federal and provincial governments have turned a blind eye to this problem, leaving over five hundred children in Turbat alone suffering from thalassaemia major. Consequently, they face the added burden of searching for blood donors street by street in the sweltering heat of the city.

Recognising the plight of these innocent children, Irshad Arif, a private school teacher, has established a small blood bank in the city known as Kech Thalassemia Care Centre (KTCC). Regrettably, our society lacks the necessary support to assist them. Furthermore, a significant number of individuals residing in Balochistan are unaware of the importance of blood donation and its numerous benefits. This issue is undoubtedly on the rise, as awareness spreads throughout our society. However, awareness is nurtured through a quality education, and our government's inadequate allocation of funds to education, which stands at a mere 1.7 in the budget, impedes progress.

Additionally, it is disheartening to note that more than a hundred thalassaemia patients in Turbat, Balochistan, are unable to access education. Furthermore, the Kech Thalassemia Care Centre (KTCC) has reported the distressing statistic that every five years, five hundred new thalassaemia patients are born while another five hundred lose their lives.

In the same vein, Arshad Arif holds both the relevant authorities and the general public accountable for the Centre's three years of insufficient support. He strongly disagrees with certain distressing remarks made by our society, which are akin to inflicting emotional pain.

"Our society has uttered hurtful words to the parents of these children, as well as to me, suggesting that providing them with blood is futile since they will not survive, and in 10 or 12 years, they will perish," Irshad recalls. "While these words may seem commonplace to some, they are nothing less than a devastating blow to the parents of a child. No one can simply discard their child and replace them with someone else. Only a criminal can do that, not a true parent."

Furthermore, Irshad emphasises the crucial need for blood and other essential medicines for these children. He says, “These children can indeed live, but they require regular provision of blood and various other essential medications to have a chance at survival.”

It is evident that our society, as a whole, shares similar misconceptions, remaining unaware of the immense challenges posed by this disease. They will only comprehend its gravity when directly affected by it.

Ultimately, it is imperative for the Health Minister of Balochistan, in collaboration with the federal government, to acknowledge the suffering of these innocent children and take substantial measures to support and facilitate them. Additionally, society must wholeheartedly endorse and actively promote awareness regarding this issue, as it would be a significant step towards its resolution.