30 March 2010
Of all the registered thalassemia patients in Gujarat, over 44 per cent live in Ahmedabad. The state has reported 3,675 cases of the disease, of which Ahmedabad had 1,626 cases followed by Surat with 523 cases.
The health department, in a written reply has stated that the government had also made arrangements for subsidised blood for such patients from government hospitals, Red Cross blood bank and non–government organisations.
The state government had also given free travel for such patients and had subsidy in fare for one person accompanying the patient. The government told the state assembly, that of the 23 district, which reported cases of thalassemia, nine have over 100 cases. These included Ahmedabad, Surat, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Amreli, Bhuj, Vadodara, Rajkot, Sabarkantha and Rajkot.
The government officials said that a drive to conduct thalassemia tests in the universities, was also started. In India every year nearly 10,000 children are detected with thalassemia. Though various NGOs and some medical organisations have been conducting programmes about the disease, lack of awareness was still a major problem, which resulted in rise in number of patients.
Officials said that the Red Cross Society is conducting thalassemia test programmes in various colleges throughout the state. But the response of the students is poor. In Ahmedabad there are nearly 75,000 college students and only 5,000 have undergone tests.