Saturday, 31 October 2020 | 14:00 WIB

Indonesia Has High Number of People Carrying Thalassemia Genes

Indonesia Has High Number of People Carrying Thalassemia Genes (hindustantimes)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Thalassemia is one of the genetic blood disorders that is quite common among people in the world. Indonesia is one of the countries in the thalassemia belt of the world, meaning that the country with the frequency of genes (numbers carrying the characteristics) of thalassemia is high.

At present, there are more than 10,531 thalassemia patients in Indonesia, and it is estimated that 2,500 newborns have thalassemia each year in Indonesia.

"The cases of thalassemia recorded until 2016 reached more than 9 thousand people with thalassemia. It is believed that there are still unrecorded cases, "said the Director of Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, Ministry of Health (Cut) Ari Cutie, M Kes, at the Ministry of Health Building, Jakarta.

In 2016, the prevalence of thalassemia major in Indonesia based on Hematology UKK data from the Indonesian Pediatrician Association reached 9,121 people.

Based on data from the Indonesian Thalassemia Foundation / Association of Parents of Sufferers (YTI/POPTI), it is known that thalassemia sufferers in Indonesia have increased from 4,896 persons in 2012 to 9,028 people in 2018.

The incidence of carriers of the nature of thalassemia is common in areas such as the Mediterranean, Middle East, Southeast Asia including Indonesia, and South China. Migration of people from these regions to other regions will cause a rapid increase in the number of people with thalassemia.

Based on its clinical manifestations, thalassemia is divided into thalassemia major, thalassemia intermedia, and thalassemia minor / career/trait carriers. Patients with thalassemia major need routine transfusion for the rest of their lives, usually every four weeks.

Patients with thalassemia intermedia also need transfusion, but not as often as thalassemia major. Meanwhile, patients with minor thalassemia are generally asymptomatic and do not need transfusion.

Meanwhile, RSCM pediatrician dr. Teny Tjitra Sari, Sp A (K) said that someone needs to be suspected of thalassemia if they show signs and symptoms such as chronic pallor, yellow, facial changes, enlarged abdomen, blackened skin, height unlike peers, and secondary sex growth is inhibited.

"In addition, there is usually a history of routine transfusions in extended family members. Until now, thalassemia treatment in Indonesia is still supportive, has not reached the level of healing, "she said.

Supportive treatment given to thalassemia patients, added Teny, aims to overcome the symptoms that arise. Lifelong routine transfusions, iron chelation, and psychosocial support are the main procedures for thalassemia patients.