Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of ‘Tour of Hope’, a campaign for the welfare of thalassaemia patients in the UAE, Khaled Al Shaikh, the Assistant Director-General, Finance and Administration of the Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms), said that there were plans to set up a bone marrow transplant centre.
According to the official, the project is expected to be completed in the next two years. The UAE, at present, does not have any centre which specialises in bone marrow transplant.
“Yes, there are plans to set up a transplant centre. The Health Ministry is seriously thinking in this connection. We would be trying to complete the project in the next two years time. The government is holding talks and the project is being discussed at the moment,” he said.
Only recently there has been a case in which a Pakistani national needing a bone marrow transplant was asked to go to his own country to get treated.
The officials said that it would be a state-of-the-art transplant centre and would cater to the needs of all the residents. “The centre would also be having an international registry so that we can be in touch with all the major centres across the globe in order to find a match,” he added.
In connection with the new campaign for the welfare of the thalassaemia patients, Khawla Belhoul, the Director of the Dubai Thalassaemia Centre, said that they would be running a bus called ‘Tour of Hope’ in seven emirates.
“It would be beginning from April 23. There would be 12 patients in the trip and they would be interacting with the patients of the other emirates trying to encourage them to lead a normal life and be strong. The objective of the tour is to make the patients learn to cope with their condition in a better way. They need to learn to manage their disease, rather allowing the disease to manage them,” she said.
The tour would be beginning from Abu Dhabi and ending in Dubai. It would be making stops in Al Ain, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain. The Dubai Thalassaemia Centre is the only centre of its king in the UAE.
The officials pointed out that most of the patients were scattered all over and that there was a need of another centre in any other emirate. The officials also stated that there were plans to expand the existing centre in Dubai.
“Though we don’t have accurate figures with regard to the patients of the disease till late, we know that UAE comprises of 8 per cent carriers of the disease. These carriers are not patients though. If two carriers tend to marry, then the chances of Thalassaemia zooms up. So we are also carrying out counselling sessions for such people,” she stated.
It is expected to be completed by the end of 2022
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