Kingdom Centre in Riyadh lights up for International Thalassaemia Day 2022
The iconic landmark was lit up in support of Saudi Arabia’s thalassemia patients and their loved ones
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh 9th May 2022: On the evening of May 8th, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), a global pharmaceutical company, in collaboration with the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF), lit up in red iconic Kingdom Centre in Riyadh to mark International Thalassaemia Day 2022. The initiative aimed to send a message of unified support to the Kingdom’s thalassemia patient community and echoes the theme of the global awareness day which, for 2022, is “Be Aware. Share. Care.”
International Thalassaemia Day is a global observance organized by the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF), encouraging the global community to work together as one to improve knowledge around the disease, of which affects over 80 million people worldwide.
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder characterized by the production of an abnormal form of hemoglobin, the protein within red blood cells that the body needs to carry oxygen. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of thalassemia in the world
The disorder leads to anemia and other serious symptoms, such as bone abnormalities and growth deficiencies. Patients living with thalassemia are often required to receive lifelong red blood cell transfusions to support normal growth and development, maintain quality of life and increase life expectancy.
The Saudi government has made significant efforts to identify the thalassemia carrier population among other conditions, by introducing a Premarital screening program (currently called Healthy Marriage Program) and also enhancing the disease care in the kingdom.
However, the disease continues to present a significant burden both on patients and healthcare services, highlighting the ongoing need for continued public awareness and promotion of prevention programs and enhanced access to innovative care.
Dr. Androulla Eleftheriou, TIF Executive Director said: “Despite the ‘spread’ of thalassemia at an increasing rate worldwide, public awareness and information about the condition, in addition to concrete and tangible actions by competent healthcare authorities at the local level towards its effective prevention, control, and management, remain significantly limited in many countries. Today we call for the intensification of concerted efforts and collective mobilization by all related stakeholders to change that.’’
Oscar Delgado, General Manager – Middle East & Africa, Bristol Myers Squibb said, “At Bristol Myers Squibb, we are proud to help and support the needs of those living with thalassemia in Saudi Arabia. Our company is committed to not only raising awareness of the disease and supporting the scientific advancements in Saudi Arabia but also to investing in medical breakthroughs and discoveries that can transform patients’ lives.
We believe in the power of science to address some of the most challenging diseases and areas of unmet medical need, where medical innovations can help patients prevail over serious diseases.
Our aim is to work with different stakeholders to make a difference and support in achieving the kingdom’s 2030 vision.”
 Beta-thalassemia – PMC (nih.gov)
 Thalassemia: a prevalent disease yet unknown term among college students in Saudi Arabia – PMC (nih.gov)
 Anemia Institute for Research & Education and Thalassemia Foundation of Canada. Guidelines for the Clinical Care of Patients with Thalassemia in Canada. Available at: http://www.thalassemia.ca/wp-content/uploads/Thalassemia-Guidelines_LR.pdf. Accessed September 9, 2020.