BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 9 Nov 2009-11-09
One in 12 people in the UAE carry the gene for thalassemia, a blood disorder that reduces the number of normal blood cells in the body, according to figures collated by the DHA.
The figures have been revealed during the launch of a completely dedicated Thalassemia website on Sunday at the Thalassemia Centre of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
"If two carriers have children, the likelihood of each child developing the disease is 25 per cent. The lack of red blood cells prevents the normal flow of oxygen around the body, which presents with similar symptoms to anemia," said to the DHA officials.
Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director General of the DHA said: "Both public and healthcare professionals can access the information on the Thalassemia disease as well as take part in forum discussions provided at web portal www.thalassemiacentre.ae or www.thalassemia-dubai.com."
Educate on disease
"The web portal has been designed with separate areas for the public and healthcare professionals, both in Arabic and English languages will help boost education of the disease, and improve communication between itself and the centre's users," he added.
According to him, the web portal has been developed aimed at reaching out to the public and provide them with up-to-date information on facts, diagnosis and treatment options. The website will add to the centre's existing patient communication system that uses SMS to alert its patients to treatment changes, appointments, and the center's activities.
Al Murooshid noted, "The DHA also has put into action measures such as pre-marital testing, in order to reduce the prevalence of Thalassemia in the UAE."
"The website the public and healthcare professional will also have a forum provided with an opportunity to interact with each other, allowing them to leave comments and suggestions for the centre's staff," he explained.
Dr Khawla Belhoul, Director of the Thalassemia Centre, pointed out: "What we want to do is match the ideal international chronic care module released by WHO, and a website containing accurate up-to-date information on the disease for patients, the public and healthcare professionals, is part of that."
"We want to encourage people to use the site to gather information, ask questions, leave comments, and take part in forums where they can discuss issues with other sufferers," she added.
According to Dr Belhoul, the healthcare professionals will benefit from having a localised resource containing international standard information. They can also contact the DHA authorities by email for expert advice.
His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, launched the portal.