Thalassemia in Pakistan

Hemoglobin. 2022 Jan;46(1):12-14. doi: 10.1080/03630269.2022.2059670.


The estimated population of Pakistan is approximately 225,633,392 (225 million). The healthcare delivery system of Pakistan is complex because it includes healthcare subsystems operated by both the federal government and the provincial government. In Pakistan β-thalassemia (β-thal) trait frequency ranges between 5.0-7.0%, thus, there are more than 10 million carriers in the country; and every year, around 5000 children are diagnosed to carry β-thal major (β-TM) in Pakistan. No standard management protocols exist and blood transfusion remains the mainstay of management. Most of the population belong to the lower socioeconomic strata, family units are large and therefore cannot afford to pay for treatment and management of their thalassemic child. Currently in Pakistan, at the national level, not a single thalassemia prevention program is available to counter this disease. However, at the provincial level some initiatives have been taken, legislation has been approved for premarital screening in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Baluchistan, but implementation remains the issue.

Keywords: Pakistan; prevalence; thalassemia prevention; β-Thalassemia (β-thal).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Thalassemia* / diagnosis
  • Thalassemia* / epidemiology
  • Thalassemia* / therapy
  • beta-Thalassemia* / diagnosis
  • beta-Thalassemia* / epidemiology
  • beta-Thalassemia* / genetics