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Haemoglobinopathies and newborn haemoglobinopathy screening in Germany
  1. R Dickerhoff1,
  2. O Genzel-Boroviczeny2,
  3. E Kohne3
  1. 1Asklepios Kinderklinik, St Augustin, Germany
  2. 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
  3. 3Hemoglobin Laboratory, University Children’s Hospital, Ulm, Germany
  1. Roswitha Dickerhoff, Asklepios Kinderklinik, 53745 St Augustin, Germany; Roswitha.Dickerhoff{at}


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.

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  • Competing interests: None.