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  The Red Circle

 By: Mannan Samad

The Red Circle is a documentary film produced by Tariq Ghani and Mehrab Khalid. The documentary encompasses the experiences of children who are struggling to cope with thalassemia. Tariq Ghani and Mehrab Khalid provide a comprehensive examination of the causes, symptoms, statistics, and repercussions of thalassemia and suggest ways to deal with it. They portray the depressing state of thalassemia in Balochistan today, notably in Kech, in their documentary The Red Circle.

The documentary highlights the unmatched services of the Kech Thalassemia Care Center (KTCC), a nonprofit organisation with approximately 200 male volunteers, 100 female volunteers, and 12 technicians actively engaged in caring for and curing over 500 thalassemia patients. The largest hospital in Kech and all of Balochistan, the Kech Thalassemia Care Center, was founded on October 18, 2019, and has been working on thalassemia for the past three years. In doing so, it set up 151 blood donation centres and carried out numerous awareness campaigns.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin. It affects the body’s ability to produce healthy red blood cells. It also reduces haemoglobin production, which means that people with this condition will have fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen to their organs. If either parent or any one of them is a carrier of thalassemia, then kids have a 25 percent chance of inheriting the major form of thalassemia. It is a life-long affliction, and the patients need frequent blood transfusions together with costly medicines to stay alive.

Shoaib Javed, a 5-year-old thalassemia child at the Kech Thalassemia Care Center (KTCC), hails from Singanisar, Turbat, and has an O-positive blood type. He stated that because I didn’t get my blood in time, I felt incredibly helpless. “My entire body hurts when my blood runs out. I feel lightheaded, and my nose bleeds. I can’t walk outside in the heat because it makes my body react badly to the heat,” he commented. Shoaib wants to attend school like other kids. “When I see other children heading towards school, my tears stream down my cheeks, and I ask myself, why I cannot go to school?” he remarked with a sorrowful tone.

The first guy in Makran to comprehend the agony of thalassemia patients and establish a blood facility was Irshad Arif, founder and chairman of Kech Thalassemia Care Center (KTCC). He exposed the typical pathetic mentality of the populace. “Numerous individuals constantly ask why I am dedicating myself to helping thalassemia patients when they know they won’t live more than five or ten years. It might be simple for us to utter such gibberish. Yet such remarks are as lethal to a mother or a father as a gunshot,” he put forward.

The director and editor of this documentary, Mehrab Khalid, is an emerging young Baloch filmmaker from Turbat, Balochistan. He commented that his team lacked the necessary technical tools for the project and that they had to rely on others. “It took me two years to complete this project to my satisfaction. The past two years have been a symbol of my passion for this documentary, which means a lot to me,” he remarked. He hoped to use this documentary to raise awareness about the horrible status of thalassemia in Balochistan. “I believe “The Red Circle” will have a significant and enduring impact on the combat against thalassemia,” he added.

It is important to reaffirm our commitment to bringing awareness to different facets of society as International Thalassemia Day, which falls on May 8, approaches. In order to reduce the prevalence of thalassemia among children in the province, the Balochistan government must establish a law making blood tests mandatory for thalassemia investigation for everyone intending to get married. The law should act as a preventive measure to curb blood complications and other blood-related disorders in children.

Published in The Balochistan Point on February 15, 2023

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