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Background: In Thailand thalassemia has an incidence of 1 % and 30 – 40 % of its population are the carriers of this disease. Thalassemia is caused by an abnormality in genes which brings about fragility and being destroyed easily of red blood cells. The patients will become chronic anemic and icteric. Their livers and spleens will be enlarged. The patients’ general appearance will be abnormal, delayed developed, short and small. Their faces may be of thalassemic facies. Tese abnormalities affect their body images, socio-emotional developments and performances in school. Even we can cure thalassemia with bone marrow transplantation, the dtreatment is very expensive. In general, treatment is supportive dthroughout life. So the patients and their guardians should be educated how to prevent more thalassemic offspring and how to give an appropriate care to their thalassemic children in order to facilitate the patients’ quality of life.
Objectives: To compare the depth of the knowledge of thalassemia before and after giving education about this disease among the guardians of the thalassemic children.
Study design: Quasi – experimental research.
Place: Pediatric OPD, Srinagarind Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University
Subjects: The guardians of the thalassemic chidren who attended the pediatric OPD dudring June 1, 2001 to May 31, 2002
Method: Al first we used a true-false questionnaire to measure the depth of the knowledge of thalassemia.Then we started a semi-structure dialogue with the guardians in order to educate them about several aspects of thalassemia. Imediately after completion of the giving education their knowledge were measured again.
Statistics: Percent and paired t test using SPSS/FW program
Results: Most of the guardians were the thalassemic patients’ mothers. They addged between 31 – 40 years. Most of them were cicil servants and graduated bachelor level. Before erceining our education program the guardians had knowledge about thalassemia fairly well. The questionnaire had 29 points as a total, 8 of which was about how to care the patient. After completing our education program their khowledge about thalassemia was increased with statistical significance [t = 9.95, p < 0.001, 95% confidence interval of the increment = 3.77 – 5.67]. The knowledge of how to care the patients were also increased significantly [t = 8.41, p < 0.001, 95% confidence interval of the increment = 1.26 – 2.02]. However, even the knowledge about the genetic transmission of the illness were also increased but the number of the guardians who scored better knowledge in this aspect increased only slightly.
Conclusion: By giving education at the pediatric OPD, the guardians of the thalassemic children could gain much statistically significant more knowledge about general aspects of thalassemia (p < 0.001) and about how to care their thalassemic kids (p < 0.001). However the increase in knowledge about the transmission of the illness did not reach statistical significance.
Keywords: Thalassemia, educating the guardians.
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