THE Federal Government has been urged to provide blood transfusion services on weekends at its medical facilities to reduce the need for unnecessary medical leave.
The move would benefit thousands of transfusion-dependent thalassaemia patients who require such treatment once in every three to four weeks, said Federation of Malaysia Thalassaemia Societies in its two-page resolution letter.
They also urged employers to not discriminate against thalassaemia patients in employment and job promotions.
“Thalassaemia patients are able to work as any other individual and the condition does not affect their performance.
“Due to this regular and constant hospital attendance, they will usually lose out in job promotions and salary increment,” it said.
The federation, in its letter also requested for improvement on public awareness on the disease, Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAT) to be provided in all hospitals that provide transfusion services to thalassaemia patients, mandatory premarital screening for thalassaemia and early transferral of paediatric thalassaemia to adult ward at the age of 12 or 14.
Federation representative Muhammad Hasan Al-Asyraf Mohamad presented the resolution letter to Penang Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin during the Global Globin 2020 Challenge Conference closing ceremony at a hotel in Penang on Sunday.
The event was organised by the Education Ministry and Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO.
In a press conference, Dr Afif said he would officially write to the Health Ministry, Welfare, Women and Family Development Ministry and MPs, who would be able to address the issue in Parliament.
“At state level, there is no major policy change yet and will wait for directive from the federal level.
“But it is definitely important to create awareness about this issue,” he said.
In Malaysia, between 3% and 5% of the population are thalassaemia carriers. As of 2014, the Malaysian Thalassaemia Registry had recorded more than 6,000 patients, of which more than 3,000 are transfusion-dependent.