This is part of our annual, series, “14 Days, 14 Stories”, about ordinary Pakistanis who are doing extraordinary things.
Every year nearly 5000 children in Pakistan are diagnosed with thalassemia. Thalassemia is an inherited disorder of the blood in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein which carries oxygen. As a result, the red blood cells of the body are excessively destroyed and leave the person anemic. Anemia is the condition in which a body does not have the required number of red blood cells.
Since Thalassemia is a genetic disorder, either one of the parents needs to be a carrier. The reason for this disease is usually inter-family marriages
According to Dr. Yasmin Rashid, who is the secretary-general of Thalassaemia Federation of Pakistan (TFP), every 6 out of 100 Pakistanis are suffering from this disease.
The reason why more and more people are suffering from this disease is the lack of awareness. The treatment is also very strenuous. It requires a person to get blood transfusions every three to eight weeks. However, there is one person who believes that he can help eradicate the disease from this country.
Talha Naseer is a 23-year-old studying in UCP Lahore. He spent a good time of his adolescence in attending seminars about issues people face in the society along with disaster management.
He grew up developing a passion for helping people out. He would participate in several social drives to help people and kept on improving his own abilities in order to facilitate people better. Since helping people became his sole focus, he got better and better at it. His passion and zeal pushed him to come up with different ways of social work. He would spend hours volunteering for different programs just to be able to give back to the society that needs help.
The best trait about Talha is that his energy and his devotion to the cause is able to convince many to join him.
A cause very close to his heart is that of Thalassemia eradication. This is why today he has his own network of people, Jad-o-Jehad Foundation, helping him expand the circle of those wanting to give back to the society.
Knowing that a huge number of people in this country suffer because of this disease makes him work for the cause. The disease is preventable if awareness drives are carried out and people are informed that inter-family marriages can lead to a lot of genetic disorders.
This is precisely what Talha does. He actively arranges seminars to educate people about this disease and its prevention as well. At the same time, he also encourages people who still want to opt for cousin marriages to at least get themselves tested before having children, so that they know whether or not their children will suffer from this disease.
Since not everyone can afford to get treatment for Thalassemia, Talha also arranges donation drives to help get funds for those who can otherwise not afford treatment.
Thalassemia patients regularly need blood transfusions and it is important to arrange blood donation drives too. He is completely committed to the cause of thalassemia eradication. Serving the people of his country is what he believes is the meaning of life.
The health sector of Pakistan is already in shambles due to the lack of allotment of suffient funds to improve the public health system. Individuals pushing boundaries on their own to help out the growing number of people suffering from these diseases should not only be commended but also supported at every step of the way.
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For more stories from our series about extraordinary Pakistanis check out “14 Days, 14 Stories”.
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