Six years later, Filipinos with hemophilia still struggle in getting treatment

Andrea Trinidad, president of Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines, awards $700 Micro-Enterprise Grant to Rolly Marsula who has Hemophilia A

Andrea Trinidad, president of Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines, awards $700 Micro-Enterprise Grant to Rolly Marsula who has Hemophilia A

Andrea Trinidad, president of Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines, awards $700 Micro-Enterprise Grant to Rolly Marsula who has Hemophilia A. Image from Trinidad’s Facebook account

MANILA, Philippines — In 2015,  Andrea Trinidad, president of Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines (HAP) and former reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, wrote a narrative narrating the struggles skilled by Filipinos with bleeding issues.

Hemophilia is a uncommon genetic bleeding dysfunction in which the blood can’t clot correctly. This may cause spontaneous and extended bleeding following an damage or surgical procedure. It impacts an individual’s joints and inside organs. For folks with hemophilia, easy cuts may be deadly.

In her story, she shared how hundreds of Filipinos with hemophilia additional undergo because of the lack of entry to treatment in the nation.

Six years have handed however Trinidad stated the identical concern is still related partnered with the present points attributable to some restrictions carried out because of the COVID-19.

Getting treatment amid the pandemic

Trinidad has beforehand famous the experiences of Marvin Valladolid and Cyl Robert Arcilla — each recognized with hemophilia — who needed to journey for hours simply to have their checkups or treatment at main hospitals in Metro Manila.

Fortunately, in the course of the previous few years, the HAP — a non-profit, nationwide group of individuals with hemophilia and associated bleeding issues, relations, and advocates — was capable of present hemophiliac sufferers free medicines that had been donated to them.

“The difference now, because of our initiative in the international community, we now have international donations. Before kasi 2015 halos wala pa kaming donations pa noon. So talagang out-of-pocket expenses yun kasi it’s very costly,” shared the HAP president.

(The distinction, due to our initiative in the worldwide group, is that we now have worldwide donations. Before, in 2015, we hardly have any donations. Everything was out-of-pocket bills as a result of it is rather expensive.)

However, the group and its affected person members weren’t unscathed by the influence of the worldwide well being pandemic attributable to COVID-19.

“Ang challenge ngayong pandemic talaga is yung pag transport (ng gamot), kasi lalo pag nagla-lockdown diba tapos walang couriers. Okay lang kapag nasa Metro Manila kasi yung esential siya kaya pwedeng i-Grab pero kapag probinsya eto talaga namamatayan kami,” stated Trinidad.

(The problem this pandemic is once we transport medication, particularly throughout lockdowns and there are not any couriers. It is okay right here in Metro Manila since we are able to get it delivered through Grab. But we have now recipients from the province who’ve died because of supply points.)

“Merong kaming member na pinadalhan namin, umabot ng two weeks sa LBC, namatay na siya bago dumating yung gamot which is very, very sad kasi he lived very far away from the city, sa Mindanao siya. So yung things like that yun yung mga challenges namin talaga,” she continued.

(We have a member whom we’ve despatched some medicines, it took two weeks for the medicines to be delivered. He was already useless when the medicines arrived, which may be very, very unhappy as a result of he lived very distant from town. He was from Mindanao.)

She additionally added that some sufferers with hemophilia are additionally being rejected in a number of hospitals.

“May mga patients kami na tinu-turn away ng hospitals kasi hindi COVID, hindi sila tinatanggap. May patient kami na namatay because of that, pingapasa-pasahan siya ng mga hospital. So very very challenging talaga for us this time,” she detailed.

(We have sufferers that had been turned away by hospitals as a result of they aren’t COVID sufferers. We have a affected person that died as a result of he was transferred from one hospital to a different. It’s very very difficult for us this time.)

Same petitions

While the group expressed its whole-hearted gratitude to its donors, Trinidad stated they’re still pushing for presidency help.

“[The donations we get] are not assistance from the government. Obviously, it’s not the long-term kasi we don’t know until when yung donation magka-come in. Kumbaga swerte kami ngayon because we have donors but that’s not sustainable,” she stated.

(The donations we get will not be help from the federal government. Obviously, it’s not for the long run as a result of we have no idea till when the donations will come in. We are actually fortunate as a result of we at the moment have donors, however that isn’t sustainable.)

She added that they’re still lobbying for the enactment of three separate bills that had been handed in the Senate and Congress manner again in 2017 and 2019.

These had been the Senate Bill 1335 authored by Sen. Joel Villanueva and co-authored by Sen. Nancy Binay, Senate Bill 1389 authored by Sen. JV Ejercito, and House Bill 4237 authored by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy.

The “Bleeding Disorder Standards of Care Act of 2017” filed by Villanueva and Binay in February 2017, emphasised the necessity to set up hemophilia treatment amenities in key cities and areas nationwide in designated hospitals with Cancer and Hematology Departments.

The invoice additional acknowledged that each hemophilia treatment amenities ought to present the next to all hemophilia sufferers:

  • “Care by qualified hematologists and medical doctors and shall also provide free of charge the necessary blood clotting products and ancillary infusion equipment necessary for the infusion of such blood clotting products;”
  • “A room exclusively for hemophilia patients;” and
  • “A clinical coagulation laboratory for the screening, diagnosis, provisional diagnosis, and treatment of bleeding disorders or suspected bleeding disorders and such services shall be provided free of charge to all indigent patients.”

Ejercito’s invoice in March 2017 and Herrera-Dy’s bill filed in 2019, which had been additionally each entitled “Bleeding Disorders Standard of Care Bill,” reiterated the decision for the hemophilia treatment amenities in the nation.

“More than five years na that we’re really trying to get a law passed para sana institutionalized yung care for hemophilia. Kasi chronic disease siya eh and genetic siya, hindi mo naman ginusto magka hemophilia,” Trinidad commented.

(We have been attempting to get a regulation handed to institutionalize the look after hemophilia for greater than six years. It is a continual and genetic illness.)

“This is not a lifestyle disease. It’s not because of how we live but it’s because of our genes,” she added.

Access to inexpensive medication, healthcare advantages

She added that they’re asking for higher entry to treatment from each authorities and personal hospitals.

“Dapat yung mga hospitals ay meron silang available na gamot kahit yung sa major hospitals lang. Yung mga major government hospitals kami yung nag p-provide ng medicines which is dapat government yung magpo-provide into, ‘di ba?”  she remarked.

(The hospitals, or at the very least main hospitals, ought to have an accessible medication for hemophilia sufferers. We are those who’re at the moment offering medicines to main authorities hospitals, however the authorities ought to present these, proper?)

According to her, apart from the medication, they should take, individuals with hemophilia are required to be infused with alternative components – given by way of transfusion of blood merchandise similar to cryoprecipitate or contemporary frozen plasma, which each include the lacking elements in individuals with hemophilia – for at the very least twice per day.

The estimated price per infusion is round $2,000 to $3,000, she stated.

“That means [you have to spend around] four thousand to six thousand dollars per day. So that’s how expensive the medicines are.”

Because of this, advocates like her are aiming to have elevated PhilHealth protection — which at the moment stands at solely P25,000 each quarter.

“‘Di masyadong significant yun kung ang ginagastos mo ay milyun-milyon,” she acknowledged.

(That quantity shouldn’t be so vital in case you are spending tens of millions for treatment.)

She likewise iterated their request to be included in the Z Benefit Package provided to PhilHealth members. This program is geared toward addressing well being circumstances that set off extended hospitalization and really costly therapies.

“Nakapag provide na kami sa PhilHealth ng mga data that they needed pero until now, wala pa rin, di pa rin umuusad and that was like six years ago,” she recalled.

(We already offered the info to PhilHealth, that was six years in the past, till now there was no progress with our request.)

This can even assist many Filipinos to be correctly recognized with hemophilia since it would reduce the price of issue assay.

In the Philippines, The World Hemophilia Federation’s knowledge bared that 1,566 Filipinos have hemophilia. Around 46 in the meantime have Willebrand illness – the commonest bleeding dysfunction attributable to lacking or faulty von Willebrand issue (vWF).

However, it was earlier estimated that there might be some 10,000 Filipinos affected with hemophilia and round a million others with von Willebrand Disease and different clotting issue deficiency issues.

Trinidad attributed this low rely of Filipinos recognized with hemophilia to the costly lab examinations in addition to the shortage of diagnostics in the nation.

National Hemophilia Day

In celebration of the National Hemophilia Day on Saturday, April 17, the Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines (HAP) may have a digital celebration.

“We’re gonna have panel discussions with doctors. (Our theme) is “Adapting to Change.” So we’re gonna be discussing hemophilia in time of COVID,” Trinidad shared.

She additionally invitations hemophilia sufferers, in addition to households and advocates of the illness, to hitch their group and apply for his or her livelihood and scholarship packages.

“May different programs kami sa Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines. We provide assistance para sa mga members namin na nawalan ng trabaho, yung mga affected ng calamities,” she stated

(We have totally different packages in the Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines. We help our members who’ve misplaced their jobs because of calamities and the pandemic.)

“Meron din kaming scholarship programs. We have two types of scholarship programs, one is in partnership with Virtualahan. Yung Virtualahan, they provide online training for those who want to become virtual assistants,” she added.

(We even have two kinds of scholarship packages. One is in partnership with Virtualahan, whereby we offer online coaching for many who wish to change into digital assistants.)

She defined that it’s actually onerous for individuals with hemophilia to have jobs as a result of even the smallest accidents can change into life-threatening for them.

“May mag members kami na wala silang mga trabaho before, this was even before the pandemic, kasi mahirap sa hemophiliacs to work. Kasi pag severe ka and kunwari sumasakay ka lang ng jeep, masagi ka lang pwede ka mag bleed.”

(We have members who had been already struggling to have jobs even earlier than the pandemic. If you may have a extreme case of hemophilia and if, for instance, you experience the jeepney on the way in which to work, even a lightweight hit or contact could make you bleed.)

Those who’re to hitch HAP can go to their web site at http://www.hemophilia.ph/be-a-member.

They are additionally accepting donations which may be despatched by way of their checking account: BDO Current Account #001348027123, Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines.

JPV



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