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'Voluntary blood donation can help haemophilia patients'.

Many people with haemophilia - one of the most common genetic blood disorders - face disability as they could not get the required treatment in time. They, however, can have a chance to live a normal life if a culture of voluntary blood donation in society is promoted.

This point was highlighted at a seminar organised on Wednesday at a local hotel by Fatimid Foundation (FF) to mark the World Haemophilia Day.

The day is observed on April 17 every year to increase awareness about haemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders.

Welcoming the guests, Dr Waleed Bin Azhar, the chief operating officer at FF, briefed the audience about the organisation's progress over the decades and said that the facility was providing free-of-cost healthcare services including blood transfusion to patients across Pakistan.

On the disease and challenges it presents, he explained that haemophilia was a group of genetic blood disorders that affected the blood's ability to clot.

People suffering from the disease didn't have as many clotting factors as there should be in the blood, which meant that such people would bleed longer after an injury, experience easy bruising and be vulnerable to an increased risk of bleeding inside joints or the brain.

'Plasma is the portion of the blood that contains all clotting factors. Concentrates from the specific factor are administered twice a week to people with haemophilia, each dose costing about Rs15,000. This translates into a monthly expenditure of Rs130,000. The other option is to import relevant medicines for which we don't have money,' he said.

Many patients had to endure disability related to joints as they fail to receive costly treatment in time.

'Our society lacks a culture of voluntary blood donation due to which we are unable to meet the growing needs of our patients,' he explained, adding that people with haemophilia could have a normal life if they received treatment.

Prof Dr Mohammad Khurshid, head of the oncology department at Aga Khan University Hospital, the chief guest, spoke about the importance of World Haemophilia Day and how it helped in raising awareness about bleeding disorders.

Assistant professor of oral medicine at Baqai Medical University Dr Syed Aijaz Ali Zaidi briefed the audience about the oral dental hygiene in patients with bleeding disorders while senior gastroenterologist at the same university, Dr Mohammad Kamran, dealt with gastrointestinal bleeding in patients.

Dr Shabneez Hussain and Dr Akbar Najmuddin, both representing FF, also spoke.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Apr 19, 2019
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