By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas is so taken aback by the plight of Thalassemia patients in Sabah that she has pledged to do her part to help the needy in Sabah as well as creating the awareness for the public to have empathy.
The Warisan Sabah icon said she was made to understand that the awareness regarding Thalassemia is still poor in Sabah, and that there is a lot more that needs to be done, apart from spreading awareness.
“I will continue to do my best in this aspect,” Jo-Anna said after she and her team who organised the Warisan Kaamatan Charity fund raising dinner for children suffering from
Thalassemia at the Hospital Wanita dan Kanak-Kanak Sabah at Likas.
“Thalassemia is a genetically inherited disorder that affects young children and can be prevented as it is largely due to a lack in awareness and proper blood screening for couples.”
On the patients, Jo-Anna said they require frequent blood transfusions for their entire life hence the hospital is always their second home.
“Without proper equipment and medicine as well as awareness of its complications, they face a very short lifespan,” she explained.
“These patients require huge resources in hospital care hence awareness and prevention would surely be the way forward.”
Jo-Anna who is also Warisan Kiulu Coordinator questioned the Health policy that in these times of hardship, one wonders with the current state of health budget cuts, would all the efforts to fight Thalassemia be adequate?
Dwindling healthcare funds would surely affect Thalassemia patients’ wellbeing, she pointed out.
“It is our hope that the Health Ministry provides adequate resources for Thalassemia awareness campaigns.
“Private entities and MNCs should have Corporate Social Responsibility programmes specifically aimed to help the Government address the problems surrounding Thalassemia,” said Jo-Anna who is also deputy Wirawati of Parti Warisan.
She said she was struck by the plight of a Thalassemia patient hence her involvement in the party’s organisation of a ‘local delicacy dinner’ on three fund-raising charity nights for these patients in conjunction with the Kaamatan festival.
“While we celebrated Kaamatan, we also wanted to remember the less fortunate who are in needof help”, said Jo-Anna who was the chairperson of the organizing committee for these charity events.
“It was such a great success where we received overwhelming support. It’s also a good opportunity to meet with the likes of Warisan leaders such Shafie Afdal, Darell Leiking, Junz Wong, Peter Anthony and others close up and also enjoy camaraderie among party members and the supporters.”
Kaamatan holds dear to Jo-Anna who was crowned Unduk Ngadau in 2007.
Tickets for all three occasions were sold out and proceeds were channelled to the Thalassemia Children of Hospital Wanita dan Kanak-Kanak Sabah.
She and her team managed to contribute books to the children’s library, as well as toys to spread the cheer during the festive season.
There was even a clown to entertain the children at the ward.
A donation of RM5,000 to Persatuan Thalassemia Sabah (Cawangan Kota Kinabalu) in the hope that the funds could be used to purchase medicines (iron chelating therapy injections, blood filters and other necessities.