After a yearlong wait,the Municipal Corporation of Delhis much-awaited thalassaemia control project will soon start taking shape in maternity homes across the city.
MCD hospitals will start pre-natal screening of expecting mothers in maternity homes. Work under the thalassaemia control project is likely to start by the end of this month,MCD Health Committee chairman,Dr V K Monga,said.
The scheme was launched by Municipal Commissioner K S Mehra in the MCDs Hindu Rao Hospital on September 20 last year but was delayed and could not be implemented. We will soon be making testing kits available at all our maternity homes for the regular screening of the thalassaemia trait by this month. Our major hospitals will also implement the scheme, Dr Monga said.
As per data available with the MCD,over 200 thalassaemia majors are born in the city every year. Besides,close to 5.5 per cent of Delhis population is a carrier of the thalassaemia gene. After screening in maternity homes,patients found positive will be referred to Hindu Rao Hospital for confirmatory tests and further treatment.
Pre-marriage screening to identify those carrying the thalassaemia trait and preventing marriage between two carriers is an ideal way of preventing the transmission of the blood disease to the next generation. If not screened in the premarital stage,tests for thalassaemia trait can be carried out on parents before birth as well. If tests find an unborn child to be thalassaemia major,medical termination of pregnancy can be offered.
At a later stage,the MCD also plans to launch thalassaemia screening for children in all its schools at the time of admission,followed by a routine check-up,Monga said. An awareness programme for school children and their parents will be organised under the School Health Scheme. The setting up of pre-marriage or marriage counselling clinics and regular mass screening camps are also being envisaged under the project,which is being implemented in three phases.