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Thalassemia Society Launches SMS Alerts to Collect Blood Filed on December 12, 2009

DUBAI The Emirates Thalassemia Society has launched a new and quicker way to generate blood during emergencies by alerting the public
through SMS.

Reaching out to the public for the first time through electronic media, head of the society Abdul Basit said the launch of the SMS campaign was the fastest way to spread awareness on the condition and collect blood during need.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder and patients require regular blood transfusions at least once a month to survive. One in 12 persons in the UAE is said to suffer fromthe disease.

According to estimates in 2008, the total number of thalassemia major sufferers in country who required hospitalisation was 1,500.

“Occasionally, we face blood shortage, so we have now started sending out SMS alerts asking people to donate,” Basit said, adding that the response has been good.

The centre has prepared 15,000 messages and questions that can help raise awareness on the disease and give information on the work of the society. “Most people do not know there is such a society that aims at supporting thalassemia patients,”he said.

The messages are sent out in English and Arabic every two days to a database of members, patients and the general public.

“A drop of blood means a lot to thalassemia patients. Will you choose to donate blood?” or “Volunteering is the revolutionary approach towards measuring the extent of development of a nation” are among the differentkinds of messages that the society is sending out.

Currently, thalassemia patients are treated in Al Wasl Hospital in Dubai and Ministry of Health centres in allother emirates.

On average, 300 new cases are seen at Al Wasl Hospital each year while 16,000 blood units are required yearlyat the facility that also has a 100 per cent occupancy rate throughout the year.


Asma Ali Zain

Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.

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