According to a story from Chronicle Live, a medical team from Newcastle in the UK will travel to the Kerala province in southern India to treat patients with hemophilia. The team will work as part of program supported by the World Federation of Hemophilia to help improve access to treatment.
Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that affects the ability of the body to form blood clots, which is an essential component in the wound healing process. Patients are either completely missing or have insufficient concentrations of blood clotting factor proteins that are responsible for forming blood clots. People with hemophilia tend to bleed for a much longer period after sustaining a wound. They also bruise far more easily and are also vulnerable to internal bleeding in the brain or joints. Joint bleeding can lead to major joint damage and arthritis if left untreated, and brain bleeding can also lead to major problems such as seizures, headaches, or loss of consciousness. Treatment typically involves identifying and replacing/supplementing the missing clotting factor. To learn more about hemophilia, click here.
In Kerala, thousands of people with hemophilia remain untreated, which has led to disastrous consequences. Often plagued by joint damage or other complications, many people with the disease there are unable to work or attend school. Some disease sufferers have even been left abandoned by their families. This reflects the huge disparities in treatment access and availability between patients here and patients in the developed world, who, with appropriate treatment, can typically live fairly normal lives.
The treatment center in Kerala estimates that around 2,500 people have signed up to receive treatment for their hemophilia, but the team estimates that nearly twice that number are still going without treatment. The team plans to travel to the province later this year to share resources such as diagnostic training, as well as improve support services and improve the supply of disease treatments that is desperately needed.
With the condition of many patients in such a degraded condition in Kerala, the team has a great opportunity to change the lives of thousands of hemophilia patients in India who are desperate for relief.