Sanofi, a multinational pharmaceutical company, has raised concerns about the need to create more awareness for people, especially patients to know their thrombosis risks and demand for thrombosis treatment or action to be taken to prevent the disease (Prophylaxis).
According to Ms. Folake Odediran, General Manager, Sanofi Nigeria/Ghana, this is because thrombosis is becoming a growing public health issue with great socioeconomic burden.
Odediran made the assertion in Lagos as the company joined to mark the 2019 World Thrombosis Day commemorated annually on Oct. 13.
She said: “Venous thromboembolism (VTE), blood clots occurring as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or both, is an important and growing public health issue.
“Worldwide, one in four people die from causes related to thrombosis; it claims more lives than AIDS, breast and prostate cancer, and motor vehicle crashes combined.
“The main concern is that many people are not aware of this condition.
“VTE also has its socioeconomic burden, as patients will need to spend more days in the hospital resulting in extra treatment costs and reduction in hospital bed space available for other ill patients.
“We should educate Nigerians and tell them to demand to know their thrombosis risk, especially their risk, especially when on hospital admission,’’
Odediran said that Sanofi, as a health journey partner, had engaged with various partners and stakeholders, to identify areas of support to address the VTE challenge.
According to her, it has also integrated these opportunity areas into it’s business and strategy to better meet patient needs.
“Our areas of support have focused on capacity building, partnerships with healthcare associations and driving awareness on VTE.
“Our capacity building activities are built around the VTE Safe Zone Programme which is designed to improve the care of hospitalised patients and reduce their risk of a VTE.
“The programme is focused on education for doctors, pharmacists and nurses, development of VTE risk assessment tools and setting up of Institutional Thrombosis Committees.
“This project has been successfully implemented in UCH, Ibadan and is in the pilot phases in UNTH, Enugu, UBTH Benin, and AKTH Kano.’’
The Sanofi general manager said the organisation had also partnered healthcare associations, including the Nigerian Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion to disseminate the first-ever VTE guidelines to guide healthcare practitioners on management and prevention of VTE.
Earlier, Prof. Sulaimon Akanmu of the Haematology and Blood Transfusion, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, said that no fewer than 50 per cent of patients on admission in Nigerian hospitals might develop thrombosis.
“Thrombosis is a deadly condition caused by the formation of potentially deadly clots (i.e. blood that has turned into a solid form) within the blood vessel.
“When the blood clot forms in the vein, referred to as `Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)’, part or whole of the clot can detach and travel in the circulation to lodge in the lungs, causing a condition referred to as pulmonary embolism (PE).
“Both DVT and PE are collectively referred to as `Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)’ and VTE, kills mostly before needed specialised medical intervention is obtained,’’
Akanmu said thrombosis was responsible for 370,000 deaths in Europe, far higher than the number recorded for the total number of deaths from AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer and traffic accidents combined.
He noted that according to a study, less than 20 per cent of the African patients had a diagnosis of thrombosis risk, while only a fraction of them received correct thrombosis prophylaxis,’’ he said.
According to him, thrombosis is more common among patients in the hospital than individuals at home.
He advised that an individual in the hospital be evaluated because if found to be at risk as high as 40 per cent, such person was “100 per cent likely” to develop thrombosis before leaving the hospital.