On May 21, 2008, Pakistani doctors gathered to discuss issues related to maternal mortality and reproductive health morbidity in women. Among the topics covered were the prevalence of anemia in pregnant women in the developing world, estimated at between 35% and 75%, vs.18% to 20% in the developed world.
Thalassemia, a group of inherited blood disorders that can cause bleeding complications, was the topic of much discussion. These diseases are characterized by severe anemia and a low production of hemoglobin. The most common treatment is regular transfusions of red blood cells. Approximately five to eight percent of the Pakistani population carries the thalassemia gene.
Menorrhagia (excessive menstrual bleeding) and von Willebrand disease (VWD) were also on the agenda. Among the discussants was Dr. Nazli Hossain, associate professor at the Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi, Pakistan. Hossain spoke about women with bleeding disorders, their symptoms (bruising, bleeding gums) and the consequences of poor awareness and low diagnosis rates. Approximately 20% of the 18 million women with menorrhagia globally have an underlying bleeding disorder. The majority remain undiagnosed. Many women with menorrhagia have post-partum hemorrhage. Further, many undergo unnecessary hysterectomies.
To address this problem, Hossain recommended that Pakistani women with menorrhagia who display no “organic cause” undergo testing for VWD and possible platelet dysfunction. The desired outcome for these women is proper diagnosis and treatment, resulting in reduced incidence of bleeding, particularly during pregnancy and childbirth.
The seminar was scheduled to coincide with the launch of “Haematological Issues in Gynaecology & Obstetrics,” a book edited by Hossain and Dr Tahir Shamsi.
Source: The International News, May 22, 2008