Learning from low income countries: Thalassaemia screening in Iran provides evidence for programme in Lancashire

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7489.478-b (Published 24 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:478
  1. Peter Elton (peter.elton{at}burypct.nhs.uk), director of public health
  1. Bury Primary Care Trust, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0EN

    EDITOR—The study reported by Samavat and Modell showed the effectiveness of screening before antenatal care.1 In Britain, Asian Muslims are at high risk of the β thalassaemia trait, and many marriages are still arranged. In the 1980s, I was part of a team that showed that screening forβ thalassaemia trait among Asian Muslim schoolchildren in north Manchester was acceptable to all parents; that most parents intended to arrange marriages for their children; that among those who were arranging marriages, almost all would change the arranged marriage if both partners had the trait; and that termination was acceptable to almost all parents if there was an antenatal diagnosis ofβ thalassaemia.2

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    As a result a screening programme forβ thalassaemia trait was introduced in north Manchester, although it was stopped in the 1990s, after I left, as it was not considered evidence based. The Iranian study is reassuring in providing evidence. It supports the introduction of screening forβ thalassaemia trait for Bury schoolchildren earlier this year.


    • Competing interests None declared


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