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The major component of TIF’s internationally accredited Educational Programme is the organisation of educational events (conferences, seminars and workshops) held at local, national, regional and international levels. TIF’s established international events are the biennial International Conference on Thalassaemia and Other Haemoglobinopathies, and the Pan-European, Pan-Asian and Pan-Middle East Regional Conferences.

These events seek to address the needs of patients, parents, healthcare professionals and the general public in the field of thalassaemia and other haemoglobin disorders. Already over 30,000 participants (patients, parents, healthcare professionals etc) from over 100 countries have attended the educational events. The website is viewed by thousands of stakeholders, including national thalassaemia associations, medical centres and hospitals, individual physicians, patients and parents, Government bodies & national health authorities, International and national haematology and paediatric professional bodies, Pharmaceutical and other companies, TIF’s international partner organisations, friends and supporters.

Why attend international conferences? What is the added value for the patients?

Do these types of conferences have an impact on doctors and subsequently on the patients? Do the patients benefit from this type of conferences?

In a recent article in the American Journal of Hematology, TIF alternate member Maria Hadjidemetriou writes how she first learned about thalassaemia, interacted and built a relationship with other patients and doctors, heard about new drugs for Thalassaemia in the First TIF International Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

In Maria’s own words: “During my twenties, I started reading research papers and attended my first international conference in Bangkok, Thailand organized by the Thalassemia International Federation headquartered in Cyprus.

Meeting patients, doctors, clinicians from all over the world was life changing. The international conferences offered a very rare opportunity for patients to interact and build relationships with doctors—a different breed of doctors. This meeting was the first time I heard about a new drug, deferiprone. It was the first time I met a thalassemic woman who had given birth. It was the first time meeting thalassemics who held full-time professional jobs that they loved. I became determined to achieve all of these things for myself”.

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