Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) has launched, in the context of its educational programme, in 2013 a new initiative; A fellowship program, the Renzo Galanello Fellowship Programme, in honour of the late Professor Renzo Galanello, a pioneer in the field of thalassaemia research and management.
This programme has been initially developed in collaboration with the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust in London, UK. This is part of TIF’s Educational Programme and is offered to physicians, specialists in the field of haematology, paediatrics or internal medicine. In our effort however to widely spread this fellowship and collaborate with other reference centres as well, the training is now offered through the Joint Red Cell Unit, Haematology Department of the University College London NHS Foundation Trust in London, UK under the supervision and coordination of Professor John Porter, Professor of Haematology and Dr Perla Eleftheriou, Consultant Haematologist.
TIF is aware that in many countries there is a lack of trained medical staff and as result, healthcare of haemoglobinopathy patients is less than optimum in many countries rudimentary. This need is partially due to a general poorer interest in haematology circles for non-malignant haematological disorders but also because these disorders are regarded as rare and as such are not given priority or integrated into national strategies or programmes. Policies for rare and chronic disorders are suboptimal or inadequate in many countries and health policy interest is diverted to other health ‘priorities’. Improving knowledge towards holistic care in thalassaemia and sickle cell disease has been a TIF priority since its establishment and this need has no geographical boundaries.
Improving policies for the prevention and management of these disorders, constitutes a vast and invaluable contribution towards the health and quality of lives of our patients and towards national, regional and international public health and social burden; Since these diseases are polyorganic in nature, have lifelong dependency on blood and are genetic in aetiology, bear considerable medical, public health and social repercussions in addition to the economic ones.