Doctors, administrators, social workers, nurses and patients from Dubai board “Help” bus for five-day tour to share experiences and enjoy fun activities
Dubai, United Arab Emirates. April 28, 2013: The Thalassemia Centre at Dubai Health Authority launched their “Help” campaign, highlighted by a five-day roadtrip, during a press conference today at the Villa Rotana hotel.
The event featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with His Excellency Engineer Essa Al Haj Al Maidoor, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, and His Excellency Mr. Abdeen Taher Awadi, Director General of the Bait Al Khair charity.
The MOU will for the first time in the history of the Thalassemia Centre's activities create a bank account specifically for collecting Thalassemia donations. Funds raised during the “Help” campaign will be used to improve access to Thalassemia medications in a more timely and cost-effective way for patients.
His Excellency Engineer Essa Al Haj Al Maidoor, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “The launch of this campaign comes within DHA's strategy to raise awareness and health education for Thalassemia and the exchange of knowledge and successful experiences on coexistence with the disease and how to prevent it.”
His Excellency Mr. Abdeen Taher Awadi, Director General of Beit Al Kheir said, 'We are delighted to join the Help campaign launched by the Dubai Thalassemia Centre to aid patients with medical, moral and social care. We provide our full support to help Thalassemia patients and their families, who suffer from the heavy burden of treatment costs.'
“We hope that with more awareness of Thalassemia we can improve conditions for current patients, and by encouraging screening for the disease we can help reduce the incidence of Thalassemia births,” said Dr. Khawla Belhoul, Director of the Dubai Thalassemia Center.
Doctors, administrators, social workers, nurses and patients from Dubai will take part in workshops and round table discussions on best practices, treatments, management issues and challenges facing Thalassemia patients with their counterparts in each emirate during the day. Fun activities to relieve stress on the patients will be held in the evening after dinner, and will include face painting, balloon modeling and clowns.
The “Help” roadtrip will include stops at Fujeirah Hospital in Fujeirah, Saqr Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah, Tawam Hospital in Al Ain and Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Abu Dhabi, with overnight stays at a Rotana hotel in each of the emirates.
“The association with the Thalassemia Centre comes as a result of Rotana's commitment to corporate social responsibility and has been initiated across Rotana properties in the UAE. By supporting “Help” we aim to make every day special for the Thalassemia patients and contribute, even with a little gesture, to creating a treasured time,” said Omer kaddouri, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Rotana.
Although some 2,000 patients are registered in the UAE, the Thalassemia Centre estimates that one in 12 people in the UAE is a carrier. As most people aren't aware they're carriers, the Centre advises screening for the condition. Being an inherited disease, chances of developing Thalassemia symptoms increase to 25% when both parents are carriers.
Thalassemia occurs when there is a defect in the gene that controls production of proteins in the hemoglobin, which can lead to anemias. Thalassemia can be managed by following treatment plans, monthly blood transfusions, folate supplements. The only curative treatment for Thalassemia is a bone marrow stem cell transplant, but only a small proportion of patients are able to find a good donor match, and the procedure is risky.
The Dubai Thalassemia Centre has been running Thalassemia activities since its opening in 1989, and is the first ambulatory centre worldwide outside the USA to be awarded Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation.