As little children, we all looked forward eagerly to the summer holidays. For the team at Project Samraksha and the school-going children who come for treatment there, the anticipation for the summer holidays is just the same, however for a different reason. We plan to make use of every holiday season to give deferoxamine infusion to the children who are not responding sufficiently to oral chelators. Deferoxamine infusion can be very effective in controlling iron levels in the body. However, the problem is that the pump which is used for infusion costs Rs 25,000/- which is well out of reach for most families. Deferoxamine infusion therapy takes few weeks for most children and the medicine is slowly infused in about 8-10 hours.
Learning how to manage the infusion pump well requires the child and the caretaker to spend a couple of days at Samraksha after which they can do it independently at home. Instead of asking the families to buy their pumps(or find one donor per family for pumps), we have organised for few infusion pumps at our centre to be shared between the families. During the holiday season, the children will come and learn how to use the pump and then continue to use it as long as needed. In this way, the pump gets used most judiciously and optimally, the therapy is delivered adequately and the children do not miss school. These few months will go a long way in our fight against ferritin. We hope to pull the median ferritin levels down to 1500 or lower. The only challenge now is that our little pool of 4 pumps is insufficient and we may soon have to add 10 more.