The University Institute of Medical Lab Technology (UIMLT) organized a seminar entitled ‘Thalassemia Awareness and Screening Program’, in collaboration with the Punjab Thalassemia Prevention Project (PTPP) on October 10, 2019 at the UOL Defence Road Campus with the aim to raise awareness about Thalassemia, its prevention, complications, treatment and importance of premarital screening and to conduct free screening camps for Thalassemia trait.
The event commenced with a brief overview of UIMLT by Prof. Dr. Nazar Ullah Raja (HOD, UILMT). Prof. Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad (Associate Dean, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences-FAHS) welcomed the distinguished keynote speakers who included Dr. Shabnam Bashir (Project Director PTPP), Dr. Yasmeen Ehsan Tariq (Project Coordinator PTPP), HODs from FAHS and the other participants of the seminar.
In the preliminary session, Dr. Tariq deliberated comprehensively on awareness, causes and prevention of Thalassemia. She communicated that Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder in which a child has a defect in hemoglobin (Hb) gene that is responsible for low viable HB production. She further expounded that in Pakistan, Beta Thalassemia is the predominant type which is further classified into Thalassemia Minor and Major and approximately 6% of Pakistani population is Thalassemia minor.
In the subsequent session, Dr. Bashir talked about the PTPP’s establishment, aim and its operations in the six regional centers and all the 36 Districts of Punjab. He said, “Presently, PTPP is providing CBC/HPLC/ Electrophoresis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) procedure, extended family screening, mandatory premarital screening and genetic counseling in all the regions”. She further explained that lack of awareness about disease, consanguinity, delayed introduction of preventive measures are the root causes of increasing number of patients and prevention is the only practicable solution.
Prof. Dr. Syed Amir Gilani (FAHS Dean) presented a vote of thanks to the eminent guest speakers and appreciated the efforts of UIMLT for organizing an awareness seminar and was hopeful that such activities would be helpful in reducing Thalassemia disease burden in Pakistan. In this regard, bipartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was signed between The UOL and PTPP was also presented to Dr. Bashir in order to initiate collaborative activities for raising awareness about health hazards of β-Thalassemia in future.
The distinguished guest speakers were presented with souvenirs followed by group photographs.
At the end of the seminar, more than 150 volunteer faculty members and students of UIMLT submitted their blood samples for Thalassemia trait to the screening camp.