Think Foundation
Knowledge Centre - Need for Screening

The birth of a Thalassaemia Major child always points to two healthy youngsters the parents) who were completely unaware of being Thalassaemia Minor. Being healthy individuals, Thalassaemia Minors are completely unaware of the danger that lurks. The challenge in the fight against Thalassaemia is in getting healthy youngsters to think that a test for Thalassaemia Minor is important for them.

Awareness Exercise

Creating a message in a manner that is interesting to youngsters is the main challenge. This message should stand out in the clutter of information that the general public is deluged with. This awareness exercise can be carried out by:

  1. making a short film (30 - 60 seconds) on Thalassaemia, which can be telecast. This will ensure that the message reaches out to a very wide audience.
  2. making a documentary film, which can be shown in theatres and locations identified for screening camps.
  3. making a Power Point Presentation to be presented to corporates and others.
  4. designing and printing Posters for distribution to colleges, corporates, residential areas, railway stations, other public places.
  5. introducing Thalassaemia as a chapter for 9th/10th standard students.
  6. incorporating a session on Thalassaemia in Pre-Marital Counseling sessions.
  7. carrying information on Thalassaemia in matrimonial websites.
  8. incorporating a Pre-printed remark on the CBC Report given by laboratories.

Screening Camps

The awareness exercise has to be followed up with Screening Camps, which will provide a convenient facility for those interested in doing the test. These Screening Camps need to be organized at different levels :

  1. In schools : The test may be done for students of 9th/10th standard after taking permission of their parents.
  2. In colleges : There could be structured programme for testing all final year students of colleges.
  3. In corporates : This could be done with special emphasis to industries, which have a large number of young employees. Corporates could also be requested to include a test for Thalassaemia minor in the medical tests to be done by a new recruit.
  4. In residential areas : One could target the residential areas having a higher population of the high-risk communities.
  5. In community-based organizations : Those communities that are identified as high risk may be targeted through their community leaders and organizations.
  6. In gynaecological clinics : This will not involve conducting camps, but sensitizing gynaecologists to ensure that expectant mothers are screened, and necessary follow up is carried out.
  7. In pathology laboratories : Almost everyone undergoes a test for Complete Blood Count at some stage in life. If Laboratories carry a Pre-printed Remark that ‘ If MVC<80; MCH<27, would be advised to go for a test to rule out Iron Deficiency Anaemia or Thalassaemia Minor’; many persons would screen themselves for Thalassaemia Minor.

Who needs to be screened?

  1. Extended family of Thalassaemia Major children.
  2. Pre-marital youth.
  3. Any person who is going to have a child in the future.
  4. Expectant mothers.