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Muhammad Ali Fayyaz, Sharfa Kanwal, Zukhruf Fatima, Sibtain Ali Shah, Sadia Khan, Nabila Ashiq


Introduction: Thalassemia is a blood disorder characterized by defective alpha or beta chain synthesis that occurs as a result of mutated globin genes (i.e. alpha & beta). Out of many reasons behind the etiology of the disease, consanguineous marriage is the leading one. The frequency of cousin marriage in Pakistan comes out to be 74% of all marriages. Objective: The study aims at finding out the frequency of consanguinity among parents of thalassemic children coming to Thalassemia Unit, BVH, BWP so that using local data, attention of health authorities can be drawn towards this major health issue in Bahawalpur. Study design: Descriptive type of cross sectional study. Study Setting: The study was carried out in Thalassemia Unit Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur. Duration: The duration of our study was one month with the study period from April 2019 to May 2019. Sample size: Our sample was of 100 parents of thalassemic children. Data Collection: After taking informed consent from the respondents, data was collected through a preformed questionnaire having two separate sections. Section 1 included the demographic details of the respondents whilst Section 2 was based on a total of 14 close ended questions regarding consanguinity, family values, its traditional compulsion, relation of thalassemia with the blood group and personal opinion about premarital screening. Data Analysis: Data was encoded and entered into SPSS version 20. All the interpreted results have been presented in the figures and tabular format. Results: Our study conducted on 100 parents of thalassemic children showed that 89% of the parents whom thalassemic children were born to, had been married within their families. Out of which, 66% were 1st cousins, 12% were 2nd cousins while 11% were far relatives. The remaining 11% were unrelated. O +ve blood group was 39% (highest) among all the patients. More than 50% of consanguineous marriages were the result of family tradition. 67 out of 100 respondents were aware of the treatment of the disease. 81% showed up with the view of terminating the pregnancy if they had known about the disease beforehand. 67% agreed on counter advice on consanguineous marriages while 13% showed no interest to answer due to religious reasons. Conclusions: It was concluded that most of the thalassemic children were born to consanguineous parents, cousin marriage being a family tradition. The number of parents with no consanguinity was insignificant. Keywords: Thalassemia, Consanguineous Marriages, Family Marriages, Blood Group, Thalassemia Unit.


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