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Doctors successfully operate on 6-year-old Afghan girl suffering from thalassemia major

Doctors successfully operate on 6-year-old Afghan girl suffering from thalassemia major

New Delhi: Doctors at private hospital treated a six-year-old Afghan girl, Hasnat, suffering from thalassemia major (also known as beta thalassemia), through Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT).

The procedure, earlier known to treat some types of cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, is now increasingly recognised as an effective treatment option for genetic blood diseases like thalassemia major.

Hasnat was diagnosed with thalassemia major when she was just six months old. With limited resources, inadequate knowledge about the disease and very basic medical facility, the revelation left the parents devastated and confused, not knowing what to do to save the life of their little girl. It was after five and half years, which they spent in anxiousness of getting their daughter monthly blood transfusions while fearing for her life, that decided to come to India for advanced treatment.

Explaining the case, Dr Rahul Bhargava said that the fact that the family had travelled all the way from Afghanistan and was relying upon us for our expertise, made it even more crucial for all of us to give them the best possible treatment in India.

Fortunately, the girl's younger sister, Munawwara, turned out be the perfect match, making the BMT procedure possible. With excellent recovery and minimal follow-ups, the treatment turned out to be exactly the way we had hoped for."

Commenting on the treatment, Dr Vikas Dua, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Paediatric Hematology Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant said, "Beta Thalassemia or thalassemia major is a genetic disease wherein the patients have two damaged genes that lead to a need of frequent blood transfusions to survive. People with this condition often do not have a normal lifespan. However, advanced treatment modalities, like BMT, have now opened the doors to more options for such patients. We are hopeful that such success stories will change the way we have been addressing genetic blood diseases."

Till now BMT is not been conventionally used for genetic blood disorders, like thalassemia major and sickle cell anemia. As of now, such patients have to rely on regular blood transfusion to survive and usually have a poor quality of life, with reduced lifespan.

However, with such innovative approaches in treatment, patients in near future are sure to get better treatment options and an opportunity to survive.

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