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Original Article

Natl J Community Med. 2016; 7(3): 193-197

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 (‚Č•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 didnít 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

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