Thalassemia units lack staff

Thousands of Greeks suffering from thalassemia – a type of anemia affecting people of Mediterranean descent – are unable to get the regular blood transfusions they need due to an acute shortage of qualified staff at specialist centers across the country, experts told a press conference yesterday. Of the country’s 38 centers for treatment of thalassemia – also known as Mediterranean anemia – several lack doctors, meaning that nurses must carry out transfusions, the experts said ahead of a panhellenic conference on the disease starting on Friday. There are also space restrictions. Often patients are cramped into tiny rooms, sometimes in the basement, for transfusions, experts said. A new law voted through Parliament last November had aimed to improve the operation of the units. But problems with staffing and infrastructure persist.