Haemoglobinopathies and newborn haemoglobinopathy screening in Germany
- 1Asklepios Kinderklinik, St Augustin, Germany
- 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
- 3Hemoglobin Laboratory, University Children’s Hospital, Ulm, Germany
- Roswitha Dickerhoff, Asklepios Kinderklinik, 53745 St Augustin, Germany;
- Accepted 9 September 2008
Germany has been an immigration country since the early 1950s. In December 2007, 6.7 million non-German citizens lived in the country. However, the total number of citizens with a migration background is 15–20 million, about 9 million of whom come from countries where sickle cell disease and thalassaemias are frequent. In a country with 82 million inhabitants health authorities are not worried by the presence of probably 1000–1500 sickle cell and 450 transfusion-dependent thalassaemia patients, and therefore no screening or preventive measures have been taken so far on a national scale. There are plans for a pilot project (1 year) to screen all newborns for sickle cell disease in obstetric hospitals in 4–5 cities with more than 20% migrants. Funding and lack of an infrastructure to provide counselling are major problems.
Competing interests: None.