Shimla, May 8 - Shimla-based public welfare trust Umang Foundation Wednesday asked the state government to include thalassemics in the category of disabled so that they could avail facilities being provided to the physically challenged.
The government should also initiate a screening programme for the detection of thalassemic children and frame appropriate policy for them, the trust's chairman Ajai Srivastava said on World Thalassemia Day Wednesday.
He said members of the foundation met state Health Minister Kaul Singh and submitted a memorandum to him demanding facilities for thalassemic children.
Thalassemic children also have functional disability, so they should be included in the category of disabled. In this way they should be entitled for scholarship from school to university-level, Srivastava added.
He said that Himachal Pradesh did not have facilities for testing thalassemia and that poor parents could not afford costly medicines and faced problems during blood transfusion.
Thalassemia patients at Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla are being provided free medicines. But other government hospitals do not have such a provision. It should also be extended to other hospitals, he said.
A survey conducted by Umang Foundation at blood banks in the state shows that there are around 125 thalassemia patients in Himachal Pradesh.
Srivastava said the government should conduct a survey to ascertain their exact number.