Punjab should adopt giant strides in its journey of providing access to treatment to Hemophilia patients in the state, and should move to providing recombinant Anti Hemophilic Factor (AHF) treatment.This treatment should be executed through designated Hemophilia Treatment Centres in order to add teeth to the fight against hemophilia;thus ensuring the Punjab State AIDS Control Society (PSACS) tobe better served in its task to effectively utilize the Rs 10 crore provided by the National Health Mission (NHM) for the treatment of patients in Punjab.
The Government’s decision to provide access to required treatment to hemophilia patients in Punjab came as a much-needed relief in the form of agrant by NHM Of 3000 patients known to be suffering from hemophilia in Punjab, only 500 cases are known or registered. Until the NHM grant, patients didnot have access to anti-hemophilic factors — which helps replace the clotting factor missing or low among patients — that are required for the treatment of hemophilia.
Dr. Sandeep Kumar,General Secretary, Hemophilia Advocacy Society Punjab,Hemophilia Advocacy Group, said that “the steps taken by the government in Punjab is commendable as the funds for procurement of Anti Hemophilic Factors are now made available by National Health Mission. The government shouldhowever, expedite the procurement process so that Hemophiliacs of Punjab can be provided with the treatment at earliest. In India more than twenty states are providing free treatment to Hemophiliacs irrespective of their financial status. Many of the states have chosen to move to recombinant Anti Hemophilia Factors because of the enhanced safety profile. The Punjab government must benefit from these states experience and straightly move to provide Recombinant AHF treatment. Further delay in the treatment will have detrimental effect in the health and wellbeing of Hemophiliacs of Punjab.We are confident that in coming days all the hemophilia patients in the State of Punjab will be able to access to treatment and improve the quality of their lives.”
There is a strong need of developing hemophilia treatment centres and equip doctors of the state with necessary training to manage Hemophilia patients. There is also the need of raising awareness amongst the patients, doctors and administrators regarding Hemophilia.
Currently, Hemophilia-affected patients in Punjab have no access to AHFs and have to rush to other states to avail treatment facilities. Punjab State AIDS Control Society has formed a Punjab Hemophilia Advisory Group with a vision to provide awareness and accessibility of anti-hemophilia factors in the state. Three medical colleges, including Government Medical College, Amritsar, Government Medical College, Patiala and Government Medical College, Faridkot, will provide access to treatment as well as be able to educate people on hemophilia before the scope is expanded to include district hospitals.
Comprehensive care and emotional support will empower patients and their families to cope with Hemophilia, leading to increased life expectancy and better quality of life.