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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 69-70

Development of a national thalassemia policy in Pakistan

Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, Ministry of National Health Services, Government of Pakistan, Pakistan

Date of Web Publication22-Mar-2017

Correspondence Address:
Hasan Abbas Zaheer
Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, Ministry of National Health Services, Government of Pakistan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/GJTM.GJTM_53_16

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How to cite this article:
Zaheer HA, Waheed U. Development of a national thalassemia policy in Pakistan. Glob J Transfus Med 2017;2:69-70

How to cite this URL:
Zaheer HA, Waheed U. Development of a national thalassemia policy in Pakistan. Glob J Transfus Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 May 29];2:69-70. Available from: https://www.gjtmonline.com/text.asp?2017/2/1/69/202721


Thalassemia is the most prevalent genetic blood disorder in Pakistan [1] and a major healthcare challenge for the nation. It lays great psychological and financial stress on the affected families and is a huge burden on the national healthcare system. The thalassemia gene is restricted to affected families due to consanguineous marriages and is not randomly distributed.[2] Pakistan is seeing a large increase in thalassemic patients due to lack of any well-defined narrative or policy at the national level in the absence of which there are no national level prevention, control or management strategies. The National Safe Blood Transfusion Programme (SBTP) identified this strategic gap in the National Blood Policy and Strategic Framework [3] and requested the WHO for technical assistance to develop the National Thalassemia Policy.

To prepare the environment and learn about the views of the stakeholders for the need to have a national policy, the SBTP with the support from WHO organized three preliminary national consultations on the “Development of National Thalassemia Policy” in three major cities.[4] Representatives of the Thalassemia Federation of Pakistan and Thalassemia International Federation were especially invited to share their experience and provide an insight on the various issues concerning with thalassemia in Pakistan. The consultations were conducted with the prime objective to hold debate on a range of aspects of thalassemia and ascertain the views of the stakeholders and reach a consensus on different aspects of thalassemia including prevention, control strategies, management guidelines, prenatal and routine diagnosis, uniform and effective legislation, communication strategies, transfusion protocols, and research and development.

For the formulation of the actual policy, the services of an international expert, well familiar with thalassemia and blood safety issues, stakeholders and the Pakistan scenario, will be procured by the WHO. The expert will visit Pakistan to conduct a rapid situational analysis, hold individual interactions, focus group discussions, identify issues for priority, and help develop consensus on all key issues. The draft developed by the international consultant will be finalized after a second round of national consultations. The implementation of the policy, outlined in the document, will be through the federal and provincial health departments and the NGO sector. On the basis of this National Thalassemia Policy, an action plan will be developed. These consensus documents will then be presented to the Ministry of National Health Services, which is already facilitating this initiative, for the government's endorsement and implementation.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Khateeb B, Moatter T, Shaghil AM, Haroon S, Kakepoto GN. Genetic diversity of 3-thalassemia mutations in Pakistani population. J Pak Med Assoc 2000;50:293-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ahmed S, Saleem M, Modell B, Petrou M. Screening extended families for genetic hemoglobin disorders in Pakistan. N Engl J Med 2002;347:1162-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
National Blood Policy and Strategic Framework (2014-20). Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, Government of Pakistan. Available from: http://www.sbtp.gov.pk/policies/nbp-strategic-framework-i-2014-20/. [Last accessed on 2016 Sep 24].  Back to cited text no. 3
Proceedings of the Pre-Consultative Workshops on Development of National Thalassaemia Policy. Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, Government of Pakistan; 2016. Available from: http://www.sbtp.gov.pk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Proceedings_National_Thalassaemia_Policy_March-April2016.pdf. [Last accessed on 2016 Sep 24].  Back to cited text no. 4

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