Thalassaemia prior and consequent to COVID-19 pandemic. The perspective of Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF)
Patients with haemoglobin disorders, particularly β-thalassaemia or sickle cell disease (SCD) or combined forms, on account of their underlying disease pathology and associated (iron load mainly in the case of thalassaemia) co-morbidities are defined as high-risk individuals prone to develop more severe complications from coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Despite the fact that epidemiological evidence concerning severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in these patients is currently limited across the world, it is expected that COVID-19 pandemic will have a very serious, negative impact on national economies, healthcare and social systems and consequently significant respective repercussions on the patients particularly chronic ones, and their families. Although this may be a temporary challenge in some countries of high HDI and robust health, public health and social infrastructures, this can be a long term challenge with serious to tragic consequences in countries particularly devoid of universally covered heath care systems. Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) in this present paper summarises the key challenges as expressed by the patients, their families and involved health care professionals themselves prior and consequent to COVID-19 pandemic, describes its response during the pandemic and expresses its position in support of its global patient community.
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