Winners of International Thalassaemia Day 2017 announced

TIF is delighted to announce the winners of the International Thalassaemia Day 2017. On this special day, every year, TIF focuses on a different theme related to thalassaemia treatment and has an impact on patients’ quality of life. To commemorate this special day, TIF organises a variety of activities, including a video challenge, photography and story competitions.

This year, TIF encouraged patients to focus their submissions on the theme “GET CONNECTED! SHARE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE AND FIGHT FOR A BETTER TOMORROW IN THALASSAEMIA”. The intention underlying this year’s choice of theme was to highlight the importance of knowledge, education and ‘connection’ for the betterment of patients’ quality of life at the medical, social and psychological level, while spreading hope to the thalassaemia patient community, based on the new advances in the field.

For the global thalassaemia family, the 8th of May constitutes a very special day as it is dedicated to both commemorate the thalassaemia patients who are no longer with us but are always close in our heart and to celebrate all those patients who are alive and fighting every day for their right to a better quality of life.

The criteria for the selection of the winning submissions were the following:

  1. Submission within rules and deadline given (by 23 April 2017, included)
  2. The topic treated in the video, photography, story is related to thalassaemia and the theme of the International Thalassaemia Day 2017
  3. The submission makes a significant contribution to the goal of raising awareness and increasing patients’ existing knowledge about the disease.

TIF received 1024 submissions for all three contests, filtered to determine compliance with the criteria of the contests. Submissions that best fitted the criteria were selected for the awards according to their impact. TIF staff and other native collaborators translated numerous submissions in languages other than English. In its current capacities, TIF can host, accept and translate submissions in English, Italian, French, Spanish and Arabic.

In previous International Thalassaemia Day contests, focused on the following topics:

  • “Access to safe and effective drugs in thalassaemia” (2016 theme)
  • “Enhancing partnership towards patient-centred health systems: good health adds life to years!” (2015 theme)
  • “Economic Recession: Observe – Joint Forces – Safeguard Health” (2014 theme)
  • “The right for quality health care of every patient with Thalassaemia: major and beyond” (2013 theme)
  • Patients’ rights revisited (2012 theme)
  • “Equal Chance to Life” (2011 theme)

Read about previous International Thalassaemia Day competitions

Who are the winners of International Thalassaemia Day 2017?


The winners of the Video Challenge 2017 were: (1) Habiba Mahomoud from Alexandria, Egypt (2) Salim Azeez from Iraq, and (3) Shahed Ahmad also from Alexandria, Egypt.

Video Challenge Winner #1: Habiba Mahomoud, Alexandria

Title: Video 006

Song describing the determination of Habiba Mahomoud, a 16 year-old thalassaemia patient for life and progress.  Habiba talks about her hobbies, dreams and aspirations, which revolve around Art and Visual Creativity. Habiba passes on the hopeful message that optimism, belief and individual determination can conquer whatever obstacles thalassaemia may put in the way, urging patients towards the adoption of a productive and successful working life. She pleads for support to thalassaemia patients, which would help them reach their greatest potential.

Accompanying song translation

Till the last moment do a favour and plant a thought. Don’t give up as goodness is our nature. God has lived in us and the earth tomorrow will testify that the cultivation of today is the plantation of yesterday, and that the plantation of today will be cultivated tomorrow.

No no, we were not born in vain, but to build this world and to pave a road for another generation to continue, we will not rest as long as we have the desire to live on the planet respectfully, one kind act follows another kind act, no no we were not born in vain. For closing thoughts, let us hope the youth of today will bring a better tomorrow, one generation builds and the next continues to build, till the last moment.

Video Challenge Winner #2: Salim Azeez, Iraq

Title: Hope and feeling

Video song performed by thalassaemia children raising awareness about the life of thalassaemia patients and the current status of thalassaemia research aiming to find treatment and final cure. The song relates that research is moving forward providing hope for the better management and treatment of thalassaemia. Pictures of laboratory tests and blood transfusion procedures accompany the song.

Knowledge is power.

Video Challenge Winner #3: Shahed Ahmad, Alexandria, Egypt

Title: Video 002

Video by Shahed Ahmad relating the value and importance of confidence and hope in fighting against the disease.



The winners of the International Thalassaemia Day Photography Contest are: (1) Bibi Umme Nusruth Ebrahimsaib from India, (2) Sourav Karmakar from India, and (3) SITI NUR AZILAYATI RAHMAH RAMAN from Malaysia.

Photography Contest winner #1: Bibi Umme Nusruth Ebrahimsaib

Title: Life goes on

A collage of pictures representing phases of a thalassaemia patient’s daily life: during transfusion, working, celebrating birthdays, sharing knowledge and spreading hope.

Photography Contest winner #2 : Sourav Karmakar, India

Title: Bi-cycle stunt

Thalassaemia patient engaged in a “bicycle stunt”, overcoming limits in a truly impressive artistic way.

Photography Contest winner #3: SITI NUR AZILAYATI RAHMAH RAMAN, Malaysia

Title: Journey: The sea of blood

Interesting representation of thalassaemia as a journey into the sea of blood, which accompanies the photohrapher’s story of life with thalassaemia .



Story contest winner #1: Nitya Gupta, India

Story title: Living with thalassaemia

Short summary: Nitya shares her “bitter and sweet experiences with thalassaemia”. She gives an interesting account of the challenges that thalassaemia patients face due to insufficient blood donation, social discrimination and psychological problems caused by the disease. She spreads an inspiring and encouraging message, urging thalassaemia patients to relinquish “self-pity” and engage in “self-love”: this, as Nitya says, is one of the most important components of thalassaemia management.

Read Nitya’s story

Story contest winner #2: Shaheen Rao, Pakistan

Story title: ZAID RAO A THALASSAEMIC WARRIOR (1990_2013)

Short summary: Shaheen Rao, the mother of Zaid, a beta-thalassemia patient who passed away in 2013, commemorates her son by telling the story of “a beautiful soul”, as she calls him. In this truly engaging story, Shaheen shares her son’s life experiences with the thalassaemia community emphasizing the importance of knowledge, communication, and strong connections between patients and the national and international thalassaemia community.

The story is titled “ZAID RAO A THALASSAEMIC WARRIOR (1990_2013). In this story, Shaheen describes the difficult phases of her son’s LIFE, as well as her son’s achievements, emphasizing how his philosophy of life that “a person who is morally and mentally strong, can achieve any goal”. In Zaid’s own words, “life is continuously challenging me and I am not going to give up till end“. This philosophy transformed him into a “moral and mental GIANT”, overcoming physical height and bodily strength.

Read Shaheen’s story

Story contest winner #3 – Namitha A Kumar, India

Story title: Blood red

Short summary: Namitha A. Kumar relates the story of her life as a thalassaemia patient and the ways in which the lack of education on thalassaemia posed barriers for good management and treatment.

In her story, Namitha stresses how thalassaemia patients risk their lives by not adhering to their iron chelation treatment. In her story, Namitha draws interesting parallels between ‘iron poisoning’ that thalassaemia patients undergo due to transfusion-induced iron overload and Socrates’ death from hemlock in Greek mythology.

Also very interestingly, Namitha talks about her engagement in online channels of communication with other thalassaemia patients and how, through them, she came to learn more about thalassaemia. By doing so, Namitha shares the knowledge that modern-day electronic channels of communication can facilitate patients’ access to latest knowledge about new advances in thalassaemiar and reinforce connections with the world thalassaemia community.

This statement alludes to the new digital era that TIF is increasingly endorsing through various electronic communication channels already launched or under development.

Read Namitha’s story


We are happy to note that participation in this year’s contests has been remarkable and highlight the emergent strong participation of the international thalassaemia patient community, and the Asian community in particular, who remain true to the goals of awareness-raising and education around thalassaemia.

Thank you all for your participation.

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