A productive meeting between the Greek Minister of Health, Mr. Adonis Georgiades, and a Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) delegation took place on February 7, 2024. The discussions centered on longstanding concerns of the thalassaemia and haemoglobinopathies community in Greece. Key issues included blood collection and supply challenges, strengthening prevention programmes for thalassaemia and sickle cell disease, as well as promising cell and gene therapies (CGTs) for these severe disorders.
During the discussion, both parties shared their perspectives on pressing issues. Dr. Eleftheriou submitted a comprehensive memorandum to the Minister outlining proposals to address current weaknesses, including the establishment of a National Committee for Haemoglobin Disorders, the creation of a National Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease Prevention Programme as part of the Public Health National Action Plan 2021-2025, and the implementation of a new framework for the organization, coordination, and oversight of national voluntary blood donations.
Minister Georgiades has announced the imminent launch of a new National Strategy for Blood and Blood Donation, aiming to refine the donation process and improve the management of blood products across Greece, ensuring compliance with the European Commission’s forthcoming legislation on quality and safety for substances of human origin (SoHO). Additionally, he emphasized the need to enhance efforts in preventing and raising awareness of thalassaemia. To this end, he called upon the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) to lead in creating a comprehensive proposal for a National Committee on Haemoglobinopathies. The Minister expressed a firm commitment to making this initiative a reality.
TIF was represented by Dr. Androulla Eleftheriou, Executive Director of the Organization, Mr. Vasilios Dimos, President of the Hellenic Thalassemia Association and Member of the TIF Board, Mrs. Vana Myrilla, Vice-President of the Hellenic Thalassemia Federation, Biopathologist, Director of ESY Children’s Hospital “Agia Sophia”, the Members of TIF’s Advisory Committee of International Experts, Professor Dimitris Loukopoulos, Emeritus Professor of Haematology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Dr. Constantina Politis, Haematologist, Emeritus Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Scientific Advisor of the National Public Health Organisation on Haemovigilance and Transfusion Safety, Professor Antonis Kattamis, Professor of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Medicine and President of the Hellenic Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, and Dr. Dimitris Farmakis, Professor of Cardiology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Medicine, and TIF’s Scientific Associate, Dr. Sophia Delikou, Haematologist, , Mediterranean Anemia and Sickle Cell Disease Unit, “Hippocrateon” General Hospital.
Since 1986, defending and advancing patients’ rights has remained TIF’s foremost goal. Committed to its mission of ensuring equal access to quality healthcare for those affected by thalassaemia and other hemoglobinopathies, TIF actively collaborates with national healthcare authorities to improve patient services and bolster health systems’ resilience.
The Federation is committed to continuing its multi-level efforts to ensure that as many people with thalassaemia and haemoglobinopathies as possible, nationally and globally, enjoy an improved quality of life.