Taking cognisance of a letter sent by the parents of an eight-year-old thalassemia patient,the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Central and state governments,AIIMS and prominent blood banks to respond to the plea seeking free blood transfusions and bone marrow transplant treatment for those suffering from the disease.
Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder caused by variant or missing genes that affect how the body makes haemoglobin. Children suffering from thalassemia major require blood transfusion every month from early childhood,along with adequate iron. This costs around Rs 1.5 lakh per year for of each child.
The parents of the eight-year-old boy had written to
the Delhi High Court. The court then converted the letter into a public interest litigation.
The court has issued notice to the Health Ministries at the Centre and state level,AIIMS,Rotary blood bank,Lions Club blood bank,Red Cross Society and Gangaram Hospital to respond to the plea on Thursday.
In their letter,the Pitampura-based couple had sought the courts intervention to get free blood transfusion treatment and bone marrow transplant to save their sons life. The boy,who is a Class III student,requires a transfusion of one unit of O-negative blood every 15- 20 days.
In their plea,the parents said the government does not have any specific policy to provide regular blood transfusion required by patients suffering from thalassemia.
Therefore such children are the sole responsibility of their parents and that many children die due to their parents inability to arrange blood or insufficiency of funds to buy the requisite quantity of blood, the letter said,adding that this violated the right to life of the child,who could be saved if the government could provide treatment.
The parents also claimed that as the boys father was the sole breadwinner in the family,which could not afford the childs treatment.