Dr Mumtaz Azeez, Chief Pathologist, Indian Red Cross Society Blood Bank, Kurnool
Peace, progress, prosperity for all, is my foremost prayer and topmost strategy for the year 2017, because without peace no work can be started or accomplished, in turn no progress or prosperity of mankind can be achieved. My long cherished dream is to do something remarkable in the field of hematology, blood – the life line.
Thalassemia is most prevalent socioeconomic health problem in our region. To bring an end, rather begin with reducing the incidence of this malady, I would like to begin with starting a Thalassemia Counseling Center – where anyone of marriageable age is counseled to avoid consanguineous marriages.
Next step is to start a Thalassemia Premarital Diagnostic Center. Here, initially we have to do red cell indices – obtained through standard electronic cell counter, which provides a valuable tool for preliminary screening of thalassemia trait. These cases have reduced MCV, MCH, and MCHC, keeping in mind other differential diagnosis.
Next gold standard test for diagnosis of thalassemia trait is Hemoglobin A2 estimation by various methods such as Microcolmn Chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPCL), and the like. In these, subjects with HbA2 levels of 3.5 percent and above are considered to have thalassemia trait. Once the carrier status of the couple is confirmed, the next step is to prevent the birth of a thalessemic child by offering prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion of the affected fetus.
Finally, not the least, my plan for 2017 is to have a Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) machine. This NAT machine can save many kids who have been tested HIV-positive after blood transfusion. The NAT machine is considered to be the most modern equipment, which can also detect HIV in its window period (within 5 days). I propose to make available one NAT machine in our region, so that the entire region can send donor blood samples for further tests, thus reducing the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections, not only in thalessemics but in the general recipient patients as well.
Of course, in all my above strategies, my utmost priority is to mold my technical staff morally, motivate them to carry out every procedure with dedication, precision, perfection – as we are dealing with life – to provide the best product with most reliable results, thus serving humanity honestly.