Gauteng Health urges parents to be wary of signs of Haemophilia in the early stages of a child

Some of the common symptoms associated with Haemophilia among infants to their toddler stages include excessive bruising that lasts for weeks, mouth bleeds, bleeding into joints, soft tissues and muscles.

As the global community observes World Haemophilia Day on 17 April under the theme “Equitable access for all: recognising all bleeding disorders”, the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) wishes to educate the public about the inherited blood disorder, its symptoms and treatment options.

Haemophilia is an inherited disorder that prevents blood from forming a stable clot, resulting in little or no clotting factor. It is a recessive sex linkeddisorder and mostly affects men. About 30% of boys with haemophilia may have no family history of the disorder, however, most mothers of these children will have a male blood relative on the maternal side of their family who were born with it.

There are two types of the blood disorder, Haemophilia A which is the most common and is due to a deficiency of clotting factor VIII (8) and Haemophilia which is due to a deficiency in factor IX (9). Haemophilia A affects one (1) in 5 000 male births worldwide, and in South Africa, the Annual Global Survey 2022 is published by the World Federation of Hemophilia reported that there were 2 009 confirmed males with Haemophilia A and 395 with Haemophilia B.

When a person with Haemophilia is injured, they will have prolonged bleeding as they do not have the factor that needed to make a firm clot. Although small cuts on the skin are not usually a problem, however bleeding into any deeper area of the body can be harmful.

Early treatment of Haemophilia will stop bleeding, minimise long-termcomplications and can save life. The delay in treatment of a patient with the blood disorder may be life or lim- threatening. Life-threatening bleeds include amongst others in the head and neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis or spine, Iliopsoas muscle and hip, fractures or dislocations and any deep lacerations.

The GDoH has four specialised clinics that provide diagnosis and treatment for Haemophilia patients. These clinics are situated in tertiary institutions including Charlotte Maxeke, Chris Hani Baragwanath, Steve Biko and Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospitals.

In order to ensure that there is no gap between diagnosis and treatment, the GDoH working with the Haemophilia Foundation has provided necessary training to nursing staff in local clinics and regional hospitals to detect symptoms of Haemophilia so that the patients can be referred to tertiary institutions for effective treatment.

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