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Shri Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stressed on the importance of timely detection and prevention of Thalassemia to tackle the disease. He stated that only by preventing it at the right time, can the burden of this disease be curtailed. The Union Health Secretary was speaking at an event to mark the International Thalassemia Day, 08/05/2024.

What is Thalamessia?

  • Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes a body to have less haemoglobin than normal.
  • This year’s theme, “Empowering Lives, Embracing Progress: Equitable and Accessible Thalassemia Treatment for All,” encapsulates the collective mission toward universal access to comprehensive Thalassemia care.
  • Thalassemia can cause anaemia, leaving you fatigued.
  • It is caused by faulty genes that affect the production of haemoglobin.
  • A child can only be born with thalassaemiaif they inherit these faulty genes from both parents.
  • It’s also possible to be a “carrier”of thalassaemia, also known as having the thalassaemia trait.

The main health conditions associated with thalassaemia are,

  • Anaemia – severe tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, pounding, fluttering or irregular heartbeats (palpitations) and pale skin caused by the lack of haemoglobin.
  • Too much iron in the body – this is caused by the regular blood transfusions used to treat anaemia and can cause problems with the heart, liver and hormone levels if untreated.
  • Some people may also have delayed growth, weak and fragile bones (osteoporosis), and reduced fertility.


  • Blood transfusions – regular blood transfusions treat and prevent anaemia; in severe cases these are needed around once a month.
  • Chelation therapy – treatment with medicine to remove the excess iron from the body that builds up as a result of having regular blood transfusions
  • The only possible cure for thalassaemia is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, but this is not done very often because of the risks involved.