For three-year-old Sneha, life is a struggle in continuity. A patient of Thalassemia major, Sneha battles death every single day. Her parents, despite being advised to undergo medical tests to diagnose her condition when she was in her mother’s womb, chose to disregard this warning. Now, this unawareness and lack of understanding might cost them dear. Unfortunately, they lost their four-year-old son two years ago due to the same blood disorder.
According to medical experts, more than 10,000 children are born with Thalassemia every year in India due to the sheer lack of awareness among couples, consequently leading to more and more deaths. The disorder causes iron overload, bone deformities and also cardiovascular illness leading to death. If either parent is Thalassemic, then there is a 25 percent chance that their offspring will have the disorder as well.
According to a WHO report, more than 90 percent patients with Thalassemia in Western countries lead a long and normal life. However, half of such patients in India die before reaching adulthood. The reason is simple: lack of awareness and complete care.
Relief India Trust, an NGO with a body of charitable work over the past few years, is actively involved in the promotion of awareness of the disease and support to those who are underprivileged, therefore ill-equipped to bear the cost of medical treatment. Relief India Trust’s ongoing relationship and network with various leading hospitals in the country enables patients to get free or subsidised treatment. The NGO’s recommendation letter on behalf of the patient is taken into consideration by the hospital concerned and they offer all possible help towards the treatment.
RIT (Relief India Trust) conducts blood donation camps for Thalassemia patients and provides this blood to various hospitals for patients totally free of cost. Medicines and injections are provided to hospitals specifically for those Thalassemia patients who cannot afford the cost of the medicine. The organization, through various media portals, creates awareness of the disease, especially in rural areas and keeps them informed about the availability of free treatment, medical and family help at their centers.
Relief India Trust NGO also offers free consultations for patients who face extreme trauma and depression. The organisation’s main thrust revolves around human touch. Being sensitive, and not just providing medicines and treatment, is inherent to the NGO’s work ethics. The Government has, from time to time, lent its support to the organisation.
India urgently requires more public and private participation towards eradication of this malady. The number of NGOs presently involved in the project is far too low and unless there is increased contribution from all spectrums of society, the curse of Thalassemia will only thrive.