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Ceylon Med J. 2000 Mar;45(1):12-6.

Thalassaemia control in developing countries--the Sri Lankan perspective.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Free and University College, London, UK.


Beta thalassaemia is a Mendelian recessive disorder. The economic and social cost of the disease is high due to patients' life long need for monthly blood transfusions and treatment with desferrioxamine, an iron chelating agent. Wider availability of cheaper drugs is on the horizon. If there is no concomitant reduction in the number of new thalassaemia major births, there will be a cumulative increase in numbers requiring treatment. The frequency and severity, and the economic and social costs of thalassaemia, support the case for the introduction of a carrier screening and counselling program in Sri Lanka. A three-pronged plan emphasising professional, political and public education in outlined.

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