As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating the Invisible Disabilities Week, people suffering from a rare condition called hemophilia which results in excessive internal and external bleeding have called for more awareness on the disease in order to save lives.
President of the Zimbabwe Hemophilia Association, Eliot Chimutembo, is among the one in ten thousand people suffering from a rare condition called hemophilia, that affects the blood’s ability to clot.
In Zimbabwe, there are 175 documented cases of people struggling with this hereditary disease passed mainly from mother to son.
Internal and external bleeding over the years has resulted in Eliot enduring pain and stiffness around the joints. His condition has now worsened to severe hemophilia
“when I was young my parents did not understand the disease I remember we visited lots of traditional healers and prophets as i would continuously bleed, passing bloody stool, this is still happening in many families because of lack of awareness,”narrated Elliot.
Mrs Trudy Nyakambangwe, a hemophilia sufferer who lost her 18 month-old son to the disease, says the need for awareness of this rare condition is crucial.
“Many people do not understand the disease. When my son was 18 months old he was given an immunisation injection which affected him. He suffered from internal bleeding and bruising and unfortunately passed away,”said Nyakambangwe
The disease is hereditary and her sister’s son, Munashe, who is currently writing his advanced level examinations also suffers from it.
“I cannot even indulge in sport, the slightest injury will put me in bed for a week, look at my finger I don’t know what happened but its swollen and its painful, I could not even write my exams properly”he lamented.
Hemophilia is incurable and the hemophilics suffer from continuous bleeding and have to depend on the Antihemophilic factor eight drug to stop the bleeding, a drug which is imported and costs 300 US dollar per dose.
Nose bleeds, bleeding gums, skin that bruises easily as well as pain and stiffness around joints, is a daily painful routine for them.
As we commemorate the Invisible Disabilities Week, all hemophilics deserve our love, support and understanding.