Union Health Secretary advocates for timely thalassemia detection

Apurva Chandra on International Thalassemia Day underscores the need for early detection and prevention strategies to combat the inherited blood disorder, emphasizing nationwide awareness and screening initiatives

New Delhi: Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has emphasized the need for timely detection and prevention as the most effective strategies to tackle Thalassemia during an event marking International Thalassemia Day.
Speaking at an event commemorating the occasion, Chandra stressed that the burden of the disease could only be alleviated through timely detection through screening, proactive intervention, and awareness.
Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder resulting in reduced haemoglobin levels, affects nearly 1 lakh individuals in India, with approximately 10,000 new cases reported annually. Recognizing the critical need for early detection, Chandra advocated for integrating compulsory Thalassemia testing into existing reproductive and child health (RCH) programs under the National Health Mission (NHM). He noted that while some states have already implemented such measures, others will be encouraged to follow suit to expand screening and testing for Thalassemia.
Addressing the lack of awareness surrounding the disease, Chandra stated “Still many people are unaware of this disease and how this can be prevented. It is imperative that all stakeholders in this arena collaborate for a nationwide campaign to enhance awareness on Thalaseemia”.  As part of this initiative, he unveiled an awareness video produced in collaboration with the Indian Association of Pediatrics and Thalassemics India, aimed at promoting effective prevention methods and optimal treatment for Thalassemia.
International Thalassemia Day, celebrated annually, serves as a significant platform to underscore the importance of disease prevention, raise awareness, sensitize stakeholders, promote early detection, and ensure quality care for affected individuals. This year’s theme, “Empowering Lives, Embracing Progress: Equitable and Accessible Thalassemia Treatment for All,” underscores the collective mission toward universal access to comprehensive Thalassemia care.
The event attended by notable dignitaries, including Ms. Aradhana Patnaik, AS&MD (NHM); Dr. G. V. Basavaraja, President, Indian Academy of Pediatrics; Ms. Shobha Tuli, Secretary, Thalassemics India; Dr. Manas Kalra, Honorary Secretary, PHO Chapter of IAP, and other senior officials from the Union Health Ministry, underscored the collaborative efforts needed to combat Thalassemia effectively.