World Haemophilia Day : Expert advises against stigmatization

Dr. Adeolu Anifowoshe, a Medical Laboratory Scientist at the Alpha and Omega Laboratory Centre, Ibadan, has called on Nigerians to stop stigmatizing women and girls with haemophilia.Anifowoshe made this call in Ibadan while fielding questions on this year’s celebration of the World Haemophilia Day.

He said that many women who suffer from the disease are unaware of their condition and the smell caused by the disorder leads to their being stigmatized.

He also noted that this year’s theme is: “Lighting it Up in Red”.

He said that haemophilia is a rare disorder in which the blood clot doesn’t clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood clotting proteins.

“A patient with haemophilia may bleed for a longer time after an injury than he/she would, if the blood clotted abnormally. This internal bleeding can damage organs and tissues, and may be life-threatening. A great concern is a deep bleeding inside the body, especially in the knees, ankles and elbows,” he said.

The scientist said that haemophilia is a genetic disorder which has no known cure yet but with proper treatment and self-care, most people with haemophilia could maintain active productive lifestyles.

He explained that haemophilia is caused when there is deficiency in one of the clotting factors in the body.

”When you bleed, your body normally pools blood cells together to form a clot to stop the bleeding. The clotting process is encouraged by certain blood particles (platelets and plasma proteins). Haemophilia occurs when there is a deficiency in one of these clotting factors,” he said.

The laboratory scientist said some symptoms of haemophilia include excessive bleeding from cuts or injuries,after surgery or dental work and prolonged menses in women.

Prof.  Adenihun  Adenikawo, a retired professor of haematology from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital advised patients to seek immediate medical attention, if a prolonged bleeding is noticed after circumcision in a baby boy.

“In boys who are not circumcised, easy bruising when the child becomes more mobile may lead to the diagnosis and the first episode of bleeding generally occurs by the time a child is two years old.f your child bruises easily, see a doctor. If your child has heavy bleeding that can’t be stopped after an injury, seek medical care”, Adenikawo said.

“If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy, and have a family history of haemophilia, talk to your doctor.You may be referred to a specialist in medical genetics or bleeding disorders, who can help you determine if you are a carrier of haemophilia. If you a carrier, it is possible to determine during pregnancy if the foetus is affected by haemophilia”, Adenikawo added.

A Community Health physician, Dr Olufunmilola Lola-Dare, said the World Haemophilia Day is very significant in the sense that many people particularly women are unaware that they have bleeding is an opportunity to learn of the facts about the disorder as well as how to access care.

World Haemophilia Day is an international observance held annually on April 17 . It is an awareness day for hemophilia and other bleeding disorders, which also serves to raise funds and attract volunteers for the WFH. It was started in 1989 and April 17 was chosen as its observance day[