The Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 1986 by a small group of patients and parents representing mainly National Thalassaemia Associations in Cyprus, Greece, UK, USA and Italy.
Thalassaemia constituted a grave problem in countries where malaria was formerly prevalent until quite recently. Efforts made in the 70s in Cyprus and other countries resulted in good prevention and control measures, consequently leading to the drastic reduction of the number of affected births. In light of this, in the 80s it was thought that thalassaemia would soon be eradicated and that no more measures were needed. However, the above applied mainly to Europe. Once the high number of thalassaemia patients and the lack of prevention programmes in other continents were noted, it was realised that the case was far from closed.
In 1986, five people from England, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, heavily involved with thalassaemia, met in Milan, Italy, to discuss the issue. They decided that a patients’ organisation was needed to ensure that patients around the world received adequate treatment and a chance at a quality life, to promote prevention and control programmes, and to advocate for patients’ rights. One of these five people was Panos Englezos, today TIF’s President, who had a child with thalassaemia. He undertook to prepare the statutes of the organisation and he founded the Thalassaemia International Federation, which was officially registered in 1987 with headquarters in Nicosia, Cyprus.
The correct foundations set since TIF’s establishment, the well-thought-out Constitution, the hard work of the members of the Board and the endless respect and trust between the members of the board were factors that helped in its future development. TIF grew very fast, its activities multiplied and the recognition and respect from all over the world was and remains to date a fact.
Through the years, TIF has established collaborations and networks with a number of other official health orientated agencies and associations, and patient orientated organizations at the national, regional and international level. Today, TIF has evolved into an Umbrella Federation, with 232 member associations, in 62 countries of the world (Last update: December 2020), safeguarding the rights of patients to quality health and other care.