By Thelma Allingham

In medical terms, thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder characterised by less oxygen-carrying protein (haemoglobin) and fewer red blood cells in the body than normal.

More and more children are diagnosed with Thalassemia every year in East Sepik Province yet there is little to no awareness done by the East Sepik Provincial Health Authority to address this medical issue.

Concerned mother of two, Donald and Benjamin Pukiehori ages 14 and 6 respectively said this during an interview.

“With respect to the Provincial Health Authority, I only wish they help with doing more detailed awareness on the importance of Balanced Meals, Mal Nutrition, Thalassemia and Blood Donations.” said Pukiehori.

Jane Pukiehori said she has been fighting this battle with her sons since welcoming them into her home over a decade ago and its very challenging to see that nothing has changed.

Watching new children coming in year by year after first diagnoses, it saddens me as a parent that is why I am appealing for more to be done in educating parents to watch their children’s diet and health.

Pukiehori emphasised that the need for proper awareness on Thalassemia as a life-threatening disease, affecting children’s growth should be prioritized by the health department.

She also said, these children depend entirely on the blood donations to sustain them because the disease itself is not curable and on most occasions the regular hospital visits by parents every three weeks for blood transfusion becomes tiring to parents travelling in from outside districts in the province.

“These children deserve to have a normal childhood therefore as a parent I am appealing to the general public in East Sepik Province to make blood donations to help save these little but fragile lives,” said Pukiehori. 

Pukiehori thanked the East Sepik Provincial Government and the Provincial Health Authority  for the New Hospital and hopes that the sooner the facilities are open for public use, her sons along with other Thalassemia patients  will have excess to this state-of-the-art Pathology Facilities.

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