Charity Pikiti


…says Zambia has many “invisible” Haemophilia patients

By Francis Chipalo

Haemophilia Foundation of Zambia (HFZ) Chairperson, Charity Pikiti has called for the need to invest in awareness campaigns for Haemophilia in the country due to low prevalence rates being recorded.

Haemophilia is a rare medical condition in which the ability of the blood to clot is severely reduced, causing the sufferer to bleed severely from even a slight injury.

The condition is typically caused by a hereditary lack of a coagulation factor, and it primarily affects males, according to research with about 1 in 5,000 males born with the disorder globally.

However, prevalence rates can differ significantly by region due to genetic and environmental factors. In Zambia, just about 273 people have been diagnosed with Haemophilia, but Pikiti observed that the figures might be underestimated due to lack of awareness, limited access to healthcare as well as diagnostic facilities, among others.

Speaking at an advocacy dinner on Monday evening organized by the Zambian Childhood Cancer Foundation (ZACCAF), supported by the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation of Switzerland, Pikiti said Zambia has a lot of “invisible” Haemophilia patients, adding that there is need for concerted effort and collaborations if many people are to be captured.

“When we started in 2012, we only had 10 Haemophilia patients within Zambia and this was because of lack of diagnosis among others. But with the current population in the country, we should have about 2000 plus people living with Haemophilia which we feel should also be categorized as a disability,” Pikiti said.

Pikiti said the country is likely to have more Haemophilia patients with the invisible ones in mind, who she said needed to be captured in the data base for possible diagnosis.

She however said, if more people suffering from the condition are to be captured, it calls for more support from stakeholders, adding that her foundation intends to have Haemophilia centers across the country so that nobody is left behind.

Speaking at the same event, Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation General Manager, Denise Braendgaard expressed happiness with the efforts made by ZACCAF and HFZ in addressing Haemophilia and sickle cell disease in Zambia.

Braendgaard added that Novo Nordisk had since 2017 spent over 300,000 USD in healthcare services in Zambia through ZACCAF and HFZ by bringing services closer to the people through trainings and funding, among others.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Sylvia Masebo, who spoke through her Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Dr Kennedy Lishimpi described ZACCAF and HFZ as a beacon of hope and support for children living with cancer and blood disorders such as Haemophilia and sickle cell disease.

“Advocacy for children with Haemophilia and sickle cell in Zambia is crucial for ensuring access to timely diagnosis, treatment and support services,” Masebo added.


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