About Us

Hemoglobal is a fully registered charitable organization working to provide medical equipment and treatment to Sri Lankan children with thalassemia, an inherited life-threatening blood disorder. Based in Toronto Canada since November 2004, Hemoglobal is made up of a team of international thalassemia health professionals including Drs. Olivieri and Weatherall.

Hemoglobal provides medical aid to thalassemia patients in Sri Lanka. One of the benefits to working in Sri Lanka is the universal health care system the government provides to its population. This includes safe blood screening facilities and other services vital to the care of thalassemia patients. However, government funding is limited, and many patients remain underserved and without the necessary treatment to survive. In particular, clinics outside of the capital of Colombo suffer from under-funding and lack of medical equipment. Ninety percent of Sri Lanka's poor live in rural areas leaving these people especially vulnerable and without basic medical services. Among the poorest households, only 38 percent have electricity, 55 percent sanitation, and 61 percent access to safe drinking water. Patients are forced to travel into regional centres to be treated, a significant cost in terms of time and money. Hemoglobal is working to help the underfunded regional clinics across Sri Lanka that require immediate attention.

Thalassemia is prevalent throughout Sri Lanka. Hemoglobal is helping in the following clinics in Sri Lanka at this time: Anuradhapura, Badulla, Batticaloa, Chilaw, Colombo, Galle, Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa and Ragama.
The Tamil conflict: Another factor that makes life for a thalassemia patient in Sri Lanka more precarious is the Tamil conflict. By some estimates over 64,000 lives have been lost during the conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government. An estimated 800,000 people have been displaced, and many well-qualified professionals prefer to emigrate to foreign countries rather than risk the safety of their families. The conflict has placed a drain on government resources, leaving underserved populations without the necessary health care they need to survive. Funds that could be dedicated toward improving health care for Sri Lankans are unfortunately being diverted to defence budgets and military purposes.

Tsunami: The tsunami of December 2004 devastated Sri Lanka's eastern, southern and western coasts. Homes, schools, and hospitals were but a few of the infrastructural casualties. Some estimates suggest over 31,000 Sri Lankans were killed, yet the psychological, social, and financial after effects on families there are immeasurable. Amidst the rebuilding efforts little additional aid is available to thalassemia patients who require continual support in order to survive.

General Sri Lankan statistics taken from: The World Bank: Sri Lanka Country Brief. July 2005.

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200 Elizabeth St. EN10-230  Toronto, Ontario  M5G 2C4
Tel: (416) 340-3213  Fax: (416) 340-3348  Email: info@hemoglobal.org

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