Malaysia needs more geneticists in order to identify thalassaemia patients at an early stage, stated Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, after launching the 2019 Malaysia Thalassaemia Registry (MTR) report at Tunku Azizah Hospital yesterday.
‘’Thalassaemia can actually be prevented, if we can detect the carriers at an early stage. If these carriers get married, it is possible that some of their children will suffer from thalassemia. We need to produce experts in the field of genetics to detect or prevent carriers before they get married or pregnant. Therefore, I encourage universities to produce more graduates in genetic studies,” he said.
According to the MTR report, there were 8,178 registered thalassaemia patients in Malaysia as of October 2019. The report has successfully mapped the geographical distribution of the disease among the multi-ethnic population in the country, and helped policy makers in the Ministry of Health plan and monitor thalassaemia programmes.
Dr Adham added that Malaysia’s success in the treatment of thalassaemia had impacted on the increasing cost of medical services, and the importance of emphasis on the preventive aspect through screening tests for the detection of carriers of the disorder.