The Haemophilia Foundation of Nigeria (HFN) has sought the support of Nigerians in raising the sum of N100,000,000 to purchase six mobile laboratory vans (worth N9.5 million each) to be used in the diagnoses of people living with Haemophilia in rural areas of Nigeria.
Executive director of the Foundation, Mrs. Megan Adediran, sought for the support, while speaking during its first quarterly media forum in Kaduna.
According to her, majority of persons living with Haemophilia (PLWH) identified are from urban centers; hence, the need to carry the sensitization campaign to rural areas to save lives that could be lost as a result of bleeding.
She said with Nigeria’s population of about 180 billion, the number of persons living with this disorder should be around 17,000 or 18,000, explaining that, one (1) in every 10,000 persons is born with Haemophilia – such people do not bleed faster than others but longer because they lack clotting factor (protein) in the blood, which helps to control bleeding.
Mrs. Adediran added that, “In January, 2016, we had about 181 patients but as of December, 2016, we had about 304 patients of which all are from urban centers. We also discovered that there is zero identification in rural areas.
“Our target is to identify 500 patients in 2017. We want to achieve that by taking diagnoses to the people, because we found out that people find it difficult to go to hospital where the diagnoses is very expensive – ranging from N90,000 to about N140,000. Some can’t even afford the transportation from their localities to teaching hospitals where some of these facilities could be accessed.”
She further noted that, the Foundation wants to provide such diagnoses for free, where patients can benefit from factors (injection-infused into the blood stream to stop bleeding) supplied from the World Federation of Haemophilia.
“If we can get 200,000 people that can donate N500 within the 90 days of our fund raising challenge/campaign, starting from 18th January to 17th April, 2017, we can raise N100 million to buy the vans, reagents for tests, employ drivers and do other things,” she emphasized.
While noting that each of the geo-political zones would have one van with a team of medical experts to commence work by May, she also called on the media to collaborate with the Foundation to identify more patients.
Earlier in her opening remarks, HFN program officer, Nkechi Lawson, said the Foundation’s aim is to improve the quality of life for people living with bleeding disorders.
She, however, noted low level of awareness even among health workers, and identification of the over 17,000 patients as their major challenge.
Lawson further pointed out that, Haemophilia is a bleeding disorder where an individual lacks the ability to form a clot after an injury (internal or external); saying the common types are; Haemophilia ‘A’ – caused by low level of factor VIII in a person (it affects 1 in 10,000 persons); and Haemophilia ‘B’ – caused by low level of factor IX, which affects 1 in 30,000 persons.
“Though Haemophilia cannot be totally cured, it can be managed by injecting the missing factor into the blood stream whenever there is a cut, to stop bleeding,” she added.
Its symptoms include: bleeding for long after a cut, removing a tooth, circumcision, after surgery, big bruises, sudden bleeding inside the body for no clear reason; bleeding into the muscles and joints, especially knees, elbows and ankles.