The Maldives Thalassemia Society has called on the government to provide medical care to all patients with the genetic blood disorder without discrimination and upgrade facilities at the Maldivian Blood Services (MCS)
The Maldives has the highest concentration of carriers for the disorder at 18 percent, and over 500 registered patients. Thalassemia causes severe anemia and requires life long blood transfusions and treatment.
Speaking at a ceremony at Nasandhura Palace Hotel last night, Abdul Muizz Hassan of the Thalassemia Society said individuals with the disorder living in the islands do not have access to proper treatment, while medical care facilities in Malé are run down and dilapidated.
“The building we go to seek treatment from is dilapidated, run down. We have to bear a lot of difficulties to seek treatment there. I plead with you, [we would like] for [the government] to provide us with treatment at a new building, so that we can go home satisfied,” he said.
Although medical care for Thalassemia patients had seen improvements over the years, the pace of development was too slow, he said,
“[B]ut our lives cannot wait on the [slow] speed at which [work] is being carried out. In order to save lives, medical care for us must be of the best quality. This care must be provided to all without any discrimination.”
Individuals living with thalassemia often undertake costly journeys to Malé or regional healthcare centers at great cost for blood transfusions, he noted.
Muizz also called for specialized doctors and urged the establishment of an international clinical protocol or medical guideline for Thalassemia patients.
According to the Ministry of Health, 26 new Thalassemia patients register for treatment every year.
Meanwhile. local television station Raajje TV said a 21-year-old female living with Thalassemia had been transfused with infected blood leading to lung complications and swollen veins. The woman is reported to suffer from diabetes as well.
Doctors at state owned Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) told the patient she was suffering from complications due to the diabetes and that the hospital could not offer her further treatment. It was only when the family went to Sri Lanka that they found out the cause of her symptoms was bacteria infected blood.
A family member told Minivan News today that the woman had sought treatment in Sri Lanka and is doing well now. The family declined to comment further.
In March, a pregnant woman was given HIV positive blood at IGMH leading to a public outcry over deteriorating health care services. An Indian laboratory technician has been arrested over the case.