More than 500,000 individuals are born annually around the world with haemoglobin disorders and a considerable percentage of these occur in the developing world and with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Since 1986, the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF), based in Cyprus, has been working officially with the World Health Organization (WHO) to address the severe health inequality issues affecting patients with thalassaemia and other haemoglobin disorders (including Sickle Cell Disease and rare anaemias) around the world. TIF is working to improve the survival and quality of life of patients with thalassaemia through the promotion and support of:
i. education, advocacy and capacity building of patients and their families
ii. awareness and education programmes for the community
iii. collaboration with national, regional and international health authorities aiming to (a) prioritise thalassaemia on national, European (Regional) and International health agendas; (b) develop and implement national disease specific programmes for its effective control, prevention and holistic care, and
iv. research programmes and studies focused on the final, total cure.
The Medical School and the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote academic and research collaboration in the field of haemoglobin disorders. Among other actions and activities, the Medical School with the support of TIF, will develop and offer an elective module on anaemias and rare disorders and will incorporate it within the structure of the MSc in Family Medicine offered by the School.
Furthermore, the Medical School and TIF will award, on a biannual basis, the ‘Panos Englezos Prize’, to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of haemoglobin disorders or public health. The Prize was established in 1997 by the TIF Board of Directors and its International Advisory Panel, in honour and recognition of the vast, lifelong, volunteer contribution of Mr Panos Englezos in promoting and safeguarding the interest and rights of patients across countries, religions, gender, social and cultural differences for equal access to quality health and other care.
The Prize – a solid silver drop of blood (TIF’s logo) – is accompanied by a monetary award of $10,000, and it will be awarded during the graduation ceremony of the Medical School.