Health Ministry forecasts 2,500 infants born with thalassemia annually

Health Ministry forecasts 2,500 infants born with thalassemia annually

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Thalassemia is a blood disorder inherited from parents or family members

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The Ministry of Health has projected that on a yearly basis, some 2,500 babies in Indonesia are born with thalassemia major that is inherited from their parents or closest family members.

“Thalassemia is a blood disorder inherited from parents or family members,” Director of Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health Elvieda Sariwati stated during a virtual press conference themed “World Thalassemia Day” on Tuesday.

Sariwati remarked that based on a report from the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Indonesia is part of the thalassemia belt, or countries with a high risk of thalassemia, as carriers of the thalassemia trait constitute an almost large section of the population spread across the nation.

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In 2019, the Ministry of Health reported that the number of thalassemia patients in Indonesia stood at 10,555. The figure was forecast to continuously increase in the past two years, she noted.

On the same occasion, a pediatrician from the Indonesian Pediatric Society (IDAI) Pustika Amalia Wahidiyat pointed out that the reported number of thalassemia patients was still below the number of infants born with thalassemia in the country, which is projected to reach 2,500 per year.

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“Where are the rest? Those patients are the ones not detected by health workers due to the lack of knowledge, or because the symptoms are mild, or because the symptoms are severe, patients died before receiving medical treatment,” she pointed out.

Wahidiyat remarked that each thalassemia patient requires treatment involving lifelong transfusions and funding of Rp30 million-Rp500 million per year if without complications.

In the event of complications, a bone marrow transplant medical protocol is followed that cost around Rp2 billion.

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