Stavros Melides, Cure2Children’s International Liaison for Thalassemia, visited Yemen last month. His trip was generously hosted by Dr.Ahmed Shamsan Almagrami, a local pediatrician and President of the Yemen Society for Thalassemia and Genetic Blood Disorders.
On the first day of this trip, Stavros was taken to the Yemen Society for Thalassemia and Genetic Blood Disorders in Sanaa to met the medical staff that manages the care and welfare of its patients. On the second day, Stavros met with the government to discuss the need for a National Thalassemia Federation. It was agreed that there is indeed a need for such a Federation and that Yemen should consider all options for supplying necessary medicines and equipment to treat Thalassemia patients locally. At this time, Cure2Children received assurances from Dr.Ghazi Ahmed Ismail, the Deputy Minister of Health, that outside assistance and future collaboration would be welcomed by the Yemen government.
At present Yemen faces many social and economical challenges due to lack of money. The management of thalassemia falls short of acceptable standards of care, thus children/patients are left to die a slow and painful death. There is also an endemic lack of knowledge about this disease that must be addressed.
At Cure2Children, we feel that our collaboration will help to advise on the acquisition of needed medicines and equipment, lobby the international community to make funding available to provide care, establish a database to follow patients' treatment and progress, and the eventual establishment of a bone marrow transplant facility locally. Working together with our colleagues in Yemen, we will also be able to ensure that new-borns and patients under 5 years of age will receive appropriate and well-managed treatment in preparation for compatibility with bone marrow transplant to cure them of the disease.