WHAT IS HAEMOPHILIA?
This is due to a genetic defect they suffer the result of which is the inability of their bodies to manufacture in appreciable quantities, certain soluble FACTORS in blood called CLOTTING factors, which are responsible for ensuring that we do not bleed out following an injury like a cut. Commonly, sufferers bleed into enclosed spaces of the body like joints, muscles and the brain. Bleeding into the knee joints over prolonged periods leads to a swollen and deformed joint restricting their function. Baby boys who have this problem may bleed following cutting of their cord at birth and/or during circumcision.
Two examples of such clotting factors are FACTOR VIII (factor 8) and FACTOR IX (factor 9). The absence any of these factors is due to the inheritance of a defective gene passed on from carrier mothers to their sons (in a majority of cases) resulting in the disease called HAEMOPHILIA.
There are two main types of Haemophilia – A and B. Haemophilia A results from the lack or deficiency of factor VIII while Haemophilia B results from the absence or deficiency of factor IX.
Haemophilia A is by far the commoner comprising about 85 per cent of sufferers while Haemophilia B accounts for about 15 per cent. Globally, it is estimated that the disease occurs in 1 in every 10,000 people. So, for Ghana with an estimated population of about 27, 000, 000 people then potentially, there are about 2,700 people with Haemophilia locally.
DR LAWRENCE OSEI-TUTU
OFFICIAL DOCTOR OF BISA AND SPECIALIST PAEDIATRICIAN AND HEALTH ADVOCATE; KOMFO ANOKYE TEACH HOSP-KATH-GHANA
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