Daughters with rare blood disorder, father issues plea

A father, whose two daughters suffer from a rare blood disease, has issued an appeal to people to donate blood that will go a long way in helping others as well as extend his daughters’ lives.

This man from Mirivare village, in Malalaua district of Gulf Province, is a regular at the Port Moresby General Hospital’s blood transfusion centre.

His daughters suffer from an inherited blood disorder called thalassemia, which is characterised by less haemoglobin and fewer red blood cells in the body.

“We travel from Gulf Province to Port Moresby General Hospital… for the past six years,” Troy Meatoro said.

“I just find it difficult travelling from Gulf Province to Port Moresby just to get blood.

“Sometimes when we come up here there’s a shortage of blood.”

Thalassemia sees the body make an abnormal form or inadequate amount of haemoglobin – the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in large numbers of red blood cells being destroyed, which leads to anaemia.

“I want to encourage people to donate blood so that it can save another life,” said Meatoro.

“When we come up here our kids get blood transfusion and it helps them live a normal life.”

Those with thalassemia have a limited lifespan.

“Hopefully up to 14 or 15 years but recently we have a Port Moresby General Hospital patient who is now 26 years old. That’s the news I heard from the rest of the thalassemia patients.”

Sally Pokiton