Factors Influencing Beta-Thalassemia Awareness in Western India
Ashwin P Patel, Prakash H Parmar, Rupesh B Patel, Nikhil M Trivedi, Nileshkumar A Bhartiya.
"Context: Beta-thalassemia is highly prevalent in western India. Our organization runs a screening and prevention program to create awareness and reduce the incidence of homozygous beta-thalassemia cases.
Aims: The study was designed to evaluate factors influencing awareness about Beta-thalassemia.
Methodology: This cross sectional survey was conducted at six colleges, two medical clinics, and a thalassemia transfusion centre. It involved 398 adults (≥18 years).The survey form was objective and written in the local language. Statistical analysis was done using Chi square test in SPSS software version 20.
Results: All the participants knew that beta-thalassemia affected males and females equally. Correct responses to various questions varied from 6.5 % to 45.2 %. The participants with a positive family history or who were already tested for beta-thalassemia had significantly more knowledge (p < 0.0001), but even participants with first-degree relatives of Beta-thalassemia major didnt have complete knowledge. Age and gender had no impact while education influenced only certain aspects.
Conclusions: Cascade screening should be used to enhance already increased awareness in people with a positive family history. Aggressive screening of college students will be helpful as they are likely to use it in the near future reducing the incidence of homozygous beta-thalassemia.
Key words: beta-thalassemia, screening, prenatal diagnosis, hypochromic microcytic anemia