Experts push for Haemophilia awareness

ABOUT 95 percent of Tanzanians with haemophilia are at risk of losing their lives because they are not aware of their status and miss out proper treatment.

According to experts, haemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder that slows the blood clotting process. People with this condition experience prolonged bleeding or oozing following an injury, surgery, or having a tooth pulled. Official statistics indicate that based on the previous population data, Tanzania is likely to have between 6,000 and 12, 000 patients while those who have been diagnosed and have started treatment are only 167.

Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) Executive Director Prof Mohamed Janabi said despite the fact that the country has such number of haemophilia patients, only a few have reported to health facilities for diagnosis and treatment.

He was speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday about the ongoing five days’ campaign on safe circumcision to 25 males with haemophilia.

Prof Janabi urged members of the public to turn up at the national facility for diagnosis so that they can know their status and those who will be diagnosed with the disorder can start medication.

“MNH is in the process of presenting a proposal to the government on the costs for conducting a nationwide campaign to reach out people with the disorder so that they can be given appropriate treatment,” Prof Janabi said.

He, however, called upon people to shun from associating the disorder with witchcraft, especially when they develop symptoms and instead they should seek medical attention. The symptoms that one may be susceptible to such disorder include excessive bleeding to young children in case of tooth extraction or any injury. Women may bleed excessively during their menstruation periods and the like.

“This is why men should be carefully attended during circumcision to prevent loss of blood or even death as they need closer follow-up,” he said.

He added that the ongoing campaign will see a total of 25 men undergoing haemophilia safe male circumcision in the next five days, thanks to donors who have given out more than 400m/- to cover the exercise. The exercise, according to Prof Janabi, is being conducted by MNH in collaboration with medical experts from Kenya and the Hemophilia satellite centers in Tanzania.

A Haematologist at MNH, Dr Stella Rwezaura said that there is no need for members of the public to panic and associate the disorder with witchcraft, because this is an inherited condition thus people who experience excessive bleeding of any type, should seek medical service to save their lives.

Among the people who underwent haemophilia safe male circumcision in the ongoing camp at MNH include children and men aged between 2 years and 20 years.

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