Past, present & future scenario of thalassaemic care & control in India

The first case of thalassaemia, described in a non-Mediterranean person, was from India. Subsequently, cases of thalassaemia were documented in all parts of India. Centres for care of thalassaemics were started in the mid-1970s in Mumbai and Delhi, and then in other cities. The parent’s associations, with the help of International Thalassemia Federation, greatly helped in improving the care of thalassaemics. Obtaining blood for transfusion was difficult, but the Indian Red Cross Society and the parent’s associations played a crucial role in arranging voluntary donations of blood. Chelation with deferoxamine was used sparingly due to the high cost. The Indian physicians conducted trials with deferiprone, and the drug was first approved and marketed in India. Deferasirox is also now being administered. Studies of physical and pubertal growth documented significant retardation, suggesting that generally patients receive inadequate chelation and transfusions.