Haematology

HaematologyHaematological disorders primarily affect the blood. Some of the common haematological disorders in Asia are:

Thalassemia

The thalassemias, the commonest monogenic diseases, are a heterogeneous group of inherited disorders of haemoglobin synthesis. It is an inherited autosomal recessive blood disorder and is the most common anemia observed in Asia. The abnormal haemoglobin formed in these patients results in a disruption of oxygen transportation and destruction of red blood cells.

They occur at a high frequency throughout parts of Africa and the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. In many countries in Asia, the standard of care for thalassemia patients are lacking. For example, in Kolkata, the transferring of virus, mismatching of blood and improper phenotyping during transfusions are relatively high. The availability of drugs to patients are low due to unaffordability and for those patients who receive the drugs, safety monitoring is inadequate.

In Sri Lanka, a team of doctors in Ramathibodi Hospital are studying the gene therapy techniques relative for beta-thalassemia patients.

The National Thalassaemia Centre (NTC) in Kurunegala is the premier institution in Sri Lanka helping nearly 800 patients to battle the disease. The Centre is one of the largest centres of its kind in Asia where a large number of patients come daily for blood transfusions. There are 779 patients registered at the NTC with over a 100 patients being added to the list annually.

Source: Thalassemia in Sri Lanka: a progress report