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Care centre for Thalassemia patients at Mumbai’s St. George Hospital gets a makeover

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder, in which the body produces abnormal form of haemoglobin, which affects the oxygen supply to the tissues

mumbai Updated: Nov 16, 2017 15:44 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Thalassemia,St. George Hospital
(Picture for representation)

The walls are painted bright yellow and dark blue, new air-conditioners and ten recliner chairs now sit in the newly renovated Thalassemia day care centre at the state-run St. George Hospital, near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

Around 88 children with the congenital blood condition – Thalassemia – will use these new facilities at a place where they routinely undergo blood transfusion, take medicines and are directed to undergo medical investigations. The renovated centre was inaugurated on Wednesday.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder, in which the body produces abnormal form of haemoglobin, which affects the oxygen supply to the tissues. For a child to have thalassemia, both the parents must be carriers of this disease. There are an estimated 2,200 children in the city living with thalassemia, a total of 6,500 children in the state.

Doctors said that the frequency of blood transfusion depends on levels of pre-transfusion haemoglobin, and level to which the liver and spleen are enlarged. “Ideally the transfusion is done every three to four weeks, but if the child is not maintaining the haemoglobin level well then the transfusion may need to be done earlier,” Priti Mehta, a city-based consultant paediatric haematologist and oncologist.

While bone marrow transplant is a permanent solution for the disease, the lack of matches for a donor and funds, are major reasons why the patients do not undergo bone marrow transplant. “

Lakshmi Chaudary, 35, whose two children have Thalassemia, said her family relocated to Diva, in Thane district, from Madhya Pradesh two decades back to avail treatment for her children. She said that the centre had no facilities, prior to the renovation. “There were just four walls. Both my son and daughter have Thalassemia, and we have to come here every ten days,” she said.

“They would sit on the floor sometimes, till the treatment got over, which got really painful,” she added.

Vinay Shetty, from Think Foundation, which has been aiding children with blood disorders, said the idea behind the renovation was to have a hygienic and comfortable environment.

Nurse Manali Gheret, who has been doing the blood transfusion procedure for the patients for the last two years, said that about six children are admitted per day.

“Most of these children have weak joints owing to calcium deficiency. They are admitted at 8am and stay back in the hospital until 4pm,” she said. “They will now be able to rest on the recliner chairs, which can turn into beds,” she added.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 14:49 IST