Sri Lanka is a failed state in preventing thalassemia


Everyone in Sri Lanka should do a very easy blood test to find out if they are a thalassemia carrier before their marriage. Discovery of 03% Thalassemia carriers in Sri Lanka.

World Thalassaemia Day is celebrated every year on May 8 to commemorate Thalassaemia victims and to encourage those who struggle to live with the disease. The theme for this year is  “Be Aware. Share. Care: Strengthening Education to Bridge the Thalassaemia Care Gap.

“Sri Lanka is also in the forefront among the countries with a lot of thalassemia. Other countries of the world with a lot of thalassemia have been able to prevent the occurrence of thalassemia among the people of those countries.”

“But Sri Lanka has not been able to achieve such a positive situation”, says Mr. Sachith Metthananda, Professor of Paediatrics at Kelaniya University Faculty of Medicine.


According to Professor Metthananda, about 2000 children are diagnosed with thalassemia annually in Sri Lanka. A marriage between thalassemia carriers may result in children with thalassemia major ie symptoms.


Due to the myths about thalassemia, many people in Sri Lanka are tempted to hide the fact that they are a thalassemia carrier during marriage. All the responsible people in Sri Lanka, as well as the general public, are very apathetic about preventing this disease.

Professor Metthananda says that the prevention of thalassemia has been the main reason for Sri Lanka to become a failed state.

He expressed the same opinion in a discussion held at the Colombo Health Promotion Bureau yesterday, 10th May.

According to Health Study Reports, Sri Lanka, a country with 22 million people, has nearly 2000 thalassemia patients with severe thalassemia, two-thirds of whom have beta thalassemia major (TM).

It is highly prevalent in North West, North Central, and Central provinces. Thalassaemia Centre  North Colombo Teaching Hospital Ragama, attached to the Professorial Medical Unit Faculty of Medicine University of Kelaniya.

Every year since 1994, the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) is organizing many diverse activities for International Thalassaemia Day, with the objective of drawing the attention of the public, patient associations, public authorities, healthcare professionals, and industry representatives, to fuel discussions and promote actions on a particular theme related to the prevention, management or treatment of the disease in a patient-centered manner.


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