Thalassemia and anemia in pregnancy in Anuradhapura

The GEEPMD research team has produced compelling evidence through Rajarata Pregnancy Cohort (RaPCo) that the control of anemia in pregnancy in Anuradhapura district requires a different approach. RaPCo, the largest community based pregnancy cohort done in Sri lanka assessed the causes of anemia in pregnancy and shows that almost quarter of anemia in pregnancy in Anuradhapura could be attributed to Thalassemia trait.

14% of pregnant women visiting the prenatal clinics for the first time during July-September, 2019 in Anuradhapura were anaemic.

Further, the study shows that red cell indices (parameters available in all full blood count reports) can predict thalassemia effectively with almost 100% certainty, thus can be used as a screening tool for detecting thalassemia among pregnant women.

Thalassemia is an inherited condition that causes your body to have less hemoglobin than normal causing anemia.

(Image credit NHLBI)

The lead researcher of RaPCo Dr.Thilini Agampodi and the researcher leading the anemia component Dr.Gayani Amarasinghe handed over the policy brief document based on this research work to the provincial director of health services and regional director of health services for implementation at provincial level. Dr.Wasana Mendis, a board certified consultant in hematology, is also a member of this research group working on anaemia in pregnancy. MOMCH of the district and the Hematologist from the teaching hospital Anuradhapura also supported this investigation.

GEEPMD research team and DoCM will continue to work with the Provincial Health Authorities to miminise the burden of anaemia in this area. The applicability of these findings to other areas of the country to be considered with the national level collaborations.

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Department of Community Medicine