By Chioma Obinna
On this year’s World Hemophilia Day, the Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, on Friday appealed to the Federal government to set up a standard haemophilia treatment care centres with adequate supply of Factor VIII concentrate.
Hemophilia is a life-long bleeding disorder that affects the blood’s ability to clot due to a mutation that leads to absent or deficient clotting factors.
The World Haemophilia Day is celebrated globally on the 17th of April. This year’s event is themed ”Adapting to change: sustaining care in a new world.
In a message jointly signed by the Lagos NMA Chairman, Dr Adetunji Adenekan and the Secretary, Dr Ime Okon, to mark the Day in Lagos, the duo, further called for sustained care for Nigerians Living With Hemophilia, PLWH, in the new world.
According to the NMA, there is no cure for haemophilia but it can be adequately managed if presented early.
Continuing, they disclosed that a total of 6 billion people are living with the condition globally, amounting to a prevalence of approximately 315,000 and 84,000 persons living with haemophilia (PLWH) A and B, respectively.
”In Nigeria, there is a paucity of data on the prevalence and characterization of haemophilia; however, the World Federation of Haemophilia, WFH, estimates that 9,000–12,000 People are Living With Haemophilia in Nigeria.”
Noting that COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on the economy, health sector and psychosocial status of people and PLWH not spared, they explained that the common presenting symptoms are post circumcision bleeding, persistent nose and gum bleeds and bleeding into the joints and skin.
Stating that it affects male more than female, the NMA added that the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) estimates that the prevalence of hemophilia worldwide was 105 and 28 per million males of hemophilia A and B, respectively.
”A significant number of people living with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders are reported to be either underdiagnosed, untreated or lost following under-documentation and under-reporting of cases in most developing countries. This may be due to ignorance, poor awareness of the disease, inadequate diagnostic capabilities, poor access to proper care, low economic means of managing those persons, and little or no available specific blood constituents replacement therapy.
”With increasing diagnostic capacity and emerging diagnostic tools, delay in diagnosis is common due to the relative inexperience of diagnosis and treatment of the disease by health-care workers and lack of understanding of the inheritance patterns and clinical features of the disease by family members and carers as well as inadequate counselling on the disease.
”All these are contributors to morbidity and mortality in Nigeria.”
The Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State appreciates the Haemophila Foundation of Nigeria that have helped create more awareness in identifying and treating PLWH in Nigeria, leading to an increase in the number of identified cases, early diagnosis and subsequent treatment significantly curb severe morbidity and mortality.
They commended the World Federation of Haemophilia’s Humanitarian Aid Programme for their donations of factor concentrates to Nigeria and other resource-poor nations thus improving access of PWH to factor concentrates, improved management of haemophilia and reduction in disease burden in our society.
”For us in Lagos state, this event is a clarion call to sustain care in this new world by ensuring medical professionals’ partner with organisations to increase the level of awareness amongst Lagosians, for us to increase our index of suspicion to cases of bleeding, as well as refer appropriately for investigation and diagnosis. ”