Unbleedable – Hemophilia & Its Social Implications in Singapore

Raising awareness of patients' condition in Singapore

WHAT IS HEMOPHILIA

Sometimes referred to as people with the “Royal Disease”, patients with hemophilia have low or almost non-existent levels of blood-clotting proteins in their bodies. Whenever hemophilia patients suffer cuts and bruises (e.g. when engaged in contact sports), it takes a long time for the blood to clot. Consequently, it can lead to heavy blood loss, even when the patient has suffered only a minor cut. When people suffer incisions, coagulation (blood clotting) is the body’s natural way of preventing too much blood loss.

In addition, because patients with hemophilia have insignificant levels of blood-clotting proteins in their bodies, blood coagulation normally takes a long time. It therefore exposes the patient to the possibility of suffering from heavy blood loss, severe complications and other side effects.
Severe complications from heavy blood loss include patients going into shock, and eventual death or permanent damages in the major organs. Altered (confused) state of consciousness is also highly probable.

There are two types of hemophilia. They are referred to as Hemophilia A and Hemophilia B. Patients
with Hemophilia A are diagnosed to have a deficiency in Type 8 blood-clotting proteins, while patients with Hemophilia B are perceived to have a deficiency in Type 9 blood-clotting proteins. Both conditions require different treatments, and 9 out of 10 hemophilia patients suffer from type A kind.
Hemophilia has been found to be mostly inherited by the patients from their parents. To determine whether a patient suffers from hemophilia, blood tests are conducted to check the effectiveness of the individual’s ability to coagulate blood. Due to the genetic disposition (i.e. chromosomes), most hemophiliacs are male. Hemophilia among women is very rare.

At this point, there is no known cure for hemophilia. The only treatment available involves a two-pronged approach:

  1. Preventing one from getting cuts and bruises (i.e. Avoiding contact sports and other injury prone activities).
  2. Infusing bleeding hemophiliacs with the necessary blood-clotting proteins to stop blood flow.
SOCIAL ISSUES FOR HEMOPHILIACS
  1. Bottles of blood-clotting proteins used for treatment of Hemophilia do not come cheap. According to the Hemophilia Society of Singapore, a bruise on the ankle joint may require more than 6 bottles of Factor 8 which costs a little above S$100. People from affluent families can easily pay the price, but the not so fortunate ones are obviously in trouble.
  2. Whether we like it or not, there is a social stigma attached to people with medical conditions, and hemophiliacs are no exception.
  3. The public needs to be better informed about hemophilia. Because hemophilia is not among the “Top Ten” killers in Singapore, the public does not hear much about it. It is precisely for this reason that the public must be better informed, so that when they encounter the condition they will sufficiently be equipped to deal with it.
4 MUST-KNOW TIPS FOR CARETAKERS OF HEMOPHILIACS
  1. Patients not suffering from severe hemophilia should be encouraged to take up sports, to strengthen their bodies. Being a hemophiliac does should not be a deterrent to physical sports. It simply requires that patients be extra careful.
  2. It is highly unlikely for a hemophiliac to bleed to death with just a minor cut. Ith therefore means that early treatment is simply required. When in doubt, always seek professional medical attention and provide the patient’s particulars (i.e. Drug allergies, hemophiliac severity etc.)
  3. Always inform a doctor when a hemophiliac suffers a head injury. A small head bump may lead to internal bleeding in the brain.
  4. Hemophiliacs should never take any medication that will thin their blood. Aspirin is therefore, very much not advisable.

This article is a product of research and intended to raise awareness of hemophilia. It must not be misinterpreted as professional medical opinion. Should symptoms similar to hemophilia is detected, please get a doctors opinion.

SOURCES/CITATIONS:

  • http://www.livingstories.org.uk/
  • http://www.haemophilia.org.sg

Note: Yeo Teck Wei is a freelance writer based in Singapore.

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News Roundup −09 May 2008


A few days after the president's call on big businesses to help her fight Meralco, and the GSIS started posturing for a corporate battle, the chairman of the power company's controlling company declared that it is open to a government buyout.

The most important stories today are still about a commodity deemed so vital that the government is forced to heavily subsidize it. In reality however, people can really live healthier, wealthier and happier without it.

Since the government will probably be forced to let go of $500 million (the approximate offer price for its Petron shares) to subsidize 1 million metric tons of imported rice, the president is keeping a sharp eye on suspected rice hoarders to make sure that its expenses will not go to naught. Yesterday, she personally went to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to follow up on the filing of cases against suspected rice hoarders. Of the 33 arraigned, 14 were charged for diverting government procured NFA rice to be packed and sold at higher prices.

A few hours later, it was reported that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced the result of its study on consumer price elasticity in the Philippines. The ADB stated that for every 10% increase in food items, 2.3 million Filipinos fall into poverty. The report added that the same amount of increase in non food items has the same effect on 1.7 million Filipinos. The same study however mentioned that an increase in food prices will benefit net food producers who are not necessarily the farmers, who mainly falls under the category of consumers.

The study conforms to the position of the Trade Union Congress of the Philiippines (TUCP) that the plan of the Regional Wages and Productivity Board's (RTWPB) to grant P15.50/day cost of living allowance (COLA) will be infective in helping alleviate the lives or Metro Manila's workers. They are demanding nothing less than an P80/day across the board wage increase. Let it be noted that some respected economists in the country warns that an increase greater than the amount of P20/day will probably trigger more price increases.

To make matters worse, 53 schools are now petitioning the Department of Education (DepEd) for an 8~10% tuition fee increase by next month.

A good balancing act for the government is therefore very necessary. Will it want to please the workers and cause further inflation or will it follow its mathematical computations at the cost of unpopularity? Still want to run for the presidency?

In Singapore, there's news for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW's). In that country, employers or members of their household who cause hurt to a domestic worker may be jailed for up to 18 months or fined up to 1,500 Singapore dollar or both. A Singaporean housewife was charged for pinching the arm and thighs of her Indonesian maid. A few days prior to that, A Singaporean engineer was ordered jailed for three weeks for physically assaulting his Filipina maid.

That's all for now. If there are updates, you'll find it in this site. Please stay tuned.

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LTB Philippines Culinary Team reaps medals in FHA Culinary Challenge 2008 Singapore

Last row – Reno Dela Victoria, Arnold Guevarra, Andy Tabotabo, J Gamboa, Buddy Trinidad, Ariel Manuel, Tony Bleza, Edwin Escora, Ador Mendoza
Middle row – James Antolin, Fernando Aracama, Boy Timola
First row – Ryan Otmana, Nana Nadal, Marge Villena, Janice Lazaga
Not in photo – Pauline Diaz-Lagdameo

The Les Toques Blanches Philippines Culinary Team made the country proud once more by garnering 13 medals from the Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) Culinary Challenge 2008 held at the Singapore Expo last April 22 to 25. The FHA Culinary Challenge is one of Asia's most respected culinary competitions, held bi-annually and drawing competitors not only from Asia, but also the US, Europe and Australia.

Our Les Toques Blanches Philippines Culinary Team, headed by Team Captain Ariel Manuel of Lolodad's Café earned 13 medals in 14 competitions (1 Gold, 6 Silver, 6 Bronze).

The members of the contingent were Virgilio Timola and Anatolio Bleza of Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Arnold Guevarra of Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Amador Mendoza of Manila Pavilion Hotel, and Reno dela Victoria of Waterfront Hotel Cebu. Plus apprentices Marge Villena of Lolo Dad's Café, Andy Tabotabo of CCA Manila, Janet Lazaga and Ryan Otmana of Malacanang Palace. Managing them is J Gamboa of Cirkulo and Milky Way Restaurants with Fernando Aracama of Embassy Cuisine and PR & Events Consultant Nana Nadal.

The team brought home the following accolades from their trip:

Ariel Manuel – Team Captain, Lolodad's Cafe
Plated Appetizer Bronze Medal
Plated Dish Silver Medal
Live Cooking – New Asia Cuisine Silver Medal

Marge Villena, Apprentice, Lolodad's Cafe
Andy Tabotabo, Apprentice, CCA, Manila
Team Live Cooking – Two To Tango Bronze Medal

Arnold Guevara, Sous Chef, Tivoli Grill, Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Live Cooking – Neptune's Catch Gold Medal
Plated Dish Silver Medal
Plated Appetizer Bronze Medal

Boy Timola, Sous Chef, Makati Shangri-la Hotel
Plated Appetizer Silver Medal
Plated Dish Silver Medal
Live Cooking – Field&Forest Bronze Medal

Tony Bleza, Demi-Chef, Makati Shangri-la Hotel
Ethnic Asian Display Bronze Medal
Live Cooking -Asian Family Meal Silver Medal

Ador Mendoza – Assistant Pastry Chef, Manila Pavilion Hotel
Pastry Showpiece Bronze Medal

The team also participated in the Valhrona Asian Pastry Cup, represented by James Antolin of CCA Manila, Buddy Trinidad of Park Avenue Desserts and Pauline Diaz-Lagdameo of ISCAHM.

Sponsors include the Office of the President, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Werdenberg International Corp, PTC, , Sweetlink, Kyocera Knives, Chocolate World, Siliconezone, MIDA Foods, Meat and Livestock Australia, PAL, Unilever Food Solutions, Alternatives Foods Corp, Brother’s Burger, San Miguel Pure Foods Great Foods Solutions, Fonterra, Royal Country Marketing, Gourdos, Happy Living Fine Wines, Technolux, Chef Republic Workwear, and Mike Aguas for the plate elevations and sugar and chocolate molds.

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