New Horizons paints a smile on Thalassemia patients faces
Children of Al-Raqqa have been suffering from Thalassemia for years without receiving any form of psychiatric care. Thalassemia is one of the most common diseases that cause psychological trauma for patients due to the long course of treatment.
The patient needs periodic blood transfusions and they may also have to put up with subcutaneous syringes for 12 consecutive hours!
The psychological state of patients may lead them to refuse treatment and stop going to blood transfusion sessions, for that reason New Horizons organization decided to utilize the Father Paolo grant to start a project that is based on providing moral support and encourage thalassemia children to continue to go to their treatment sessions.
The organization, in cooperation with the local council and the city’s health committee, worked together with the blood center to provide those services for children.
The project began by preparing the dedicated space at the blood transfusion center by renovating the lighting, drawing murals suitable for children and installing a projector and a screen.
Seven members of the new horizons team began to dedicate their time to provide psychological and moral support to the children, drawing, coloring, fingerprinting, watching TV, and other psychosocial and educational support activities.
Supporting parents of thalassemia-stricken children
The project was aimed not only at serving ill children, but also their parents. Awareness sessions were held for Thalassemia children’s parents to educate them about the symptoms, its effects and ways of coping with the disease.
Additionally, the center’s services were promoted through local media and social media platforms across the city in order to reach out to as many potential beneficiaries as possible.
In order to build trust between the team and children, New Horizons members accompanied the children from their homes on their way to the center.
This has had a positive impact on the patients’ psyche. Both children and their parents reported great improvement after taking advantage of the new services.
According to parents, visiting the center is no longer a struggle and children so far have not objected to going to their treatment sessions as they used to in the past, since they now actually enjoy attending them as they no longer associate them with blood transfusions and needles.
This positive improvement was reflected in the way children and their parents viewed the center and this change manifested itself in many ways.
Three siblings accompanied their thalassemia-stricken brother to the blood transfusion center to participate alongside him in the activities.
Other children did not leave the center after completing their blood transfusion sessions, because they wished to finish the activities they had started earlier.
Meanwhile, the blood center services also saw a major improvement following the addition of psychological support and entertainment activities to its program.
As a result, many parents decided to depend on the Al-Raqqa center for blood transfusions after the quality of its services improved and there was no need for them to travel for long hours in order to take their children to better facilities that provided good services in Ain Al-Arab and Manbij.