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Indian Express
08 May 2010
By Anuradha Mascarenhas

For Thalassaemic Kids, a Play Way to Cope Better
Sassoon Hospital authorities have introduced a ‘play therapy’ for the thalassaemic children to mark the World Thalassaemia Day (may The hospital registers a total of 50–60new patients of thalassaemia every year and the youngest child detected with this genetic disorder is three month–old.

The Chances of a child being thalassaemic increases if both parents are carriers, says Dr Aarti Kinikar, in charge of the thalassaemic unit at Sassoon Hospital who says the detection test is also available at teh hospital.“We have been urging parents to undergo early screning if they are thalassaemic carriers and the risk is high among communities like Sindhis Punjabis, Kacchis and even the Mahar and Matang communities.”he added.

The incidenc of thalassaemia is 5–7 percent in Maharastra, says Kinikar.About 110–130 children at the hospitals undergo blood transfisions very month. On Friday, the authorities introduced play therapy for the children.“We have started a paly therapy programme whwer the society of friends of sassoons Hospitals volunteered to help the paediartics department.The officials have also contacted software companies who conduct donation camps so that there is no shortage of blood,”says Kinikar.

As the children grow older they require more blood, says Kinikar. It is a genetic disorder and there is a need for ante–natal diagnostic screening so that the disease can be detected when the child is in the womb. There is a need for early detection and hence screening tests are important, says Kinikar.

The Indian Red Cross Society has organised a special camp for thalas saemic children as the society also observes World Red Cross Day on Saturday. The Pune unit of the Indian Red Cross Society has organised a free medical check up camp for senior citizens and thalassaemic children. Prof RV Kulkarni, secretary of the Pune district branch of the Indian Red Cross Society said that the theme of the World Red Cross Day is urbanisation and its key impact on communities.

Every year on World Red Cross Day, which is the date of the birth of its founder Jean Henry Dunant, members of the movement speak in a common global voice on global issues. According to Kulkarni this will create awareness about the health challenges associated with urbanisation. The medical check camp will be conducted at the Red Cross Society’s Dr Bandorawalla Health Centre at Rasta Peth. Senior citizens can make prior registration by contacting phone number 26058974.

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