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Preliminary Study on Thalassemia Screening and Genetic Counseling in Selective Hmong People in Saraburi Province, Thailand

Author(s): Pa Vang | Onuma Zongrum | Ratana Sindhuphak | Nikorn Dusitsin

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Hmong Studies | Asian Studies | Public Health

it can lead to the destruction of red blood cells. Studies have shown that there is a high prevalence of thalassemia in Southeast Asia. The Institute of Health Research, Chulalongkorn University developed a successful “Module” to screen for thalassemia in the Thai population, however, it has not been implemented in the minority population in Thailand. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of the newly developed educational and thalassemia screening program with the Hmong population. The primary aim of this study was to test this program. The secondary aim was to determine the prevalence of thalassemia in the Hmong and provide education. A third aim was to determine the reliability of two different screening methods in the Hmong population. A pre-test and post-test design was used; participants (N=12) were individuals residing in Thailand with the ability to read English and between the ages 18-50. The participants met twice with the researchers to complete the program. The first contact consisted of assessing participants’ knowledge about thalassemia, providing thalassemia information and education about genetic counseling, and drawing blood samples. The second contact consisted of assessing knowledge, providing a written report of individual blood sample results and counseling. The initial interview revealed that the majority of the participants (82%) did not know anything about thalassemia prior to participation. The program was easy to understand by most participants (90%). Of the eleven Hmong participants, two tested positive for being a possible carrier for thalassemia. In order to reduce the prevalence of thalassemia, it is necessary to engage in risk reduction health services. The modified screening method proved to be as effective as the standard method. Therefore, the program can expand and be used in other regional populations with low cost.

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