SMHS raises hands on haemophilia drugs

SRINAGAR: Medical superintendent SMHS, Dr. Nazir-ul-Hassan, Tuesday said that the hospital lacked funds to purchase drugs to treat haemophilic patients as the patients are dying a slow death, a 12-year-old boy being the latest victim who died two days ago.  

Suffering from hemophilia, Inaam Bhat, 12, from Tral Pulwama breathed his last yesterday after battling the disease for some off ten days at the Haemophilic Centre, SMHS. Bhat died due to internal bleeding for which there was no timely medicine available in the lone centre. Last year also, a 14-year-old boy, Arif Shafi Lone, died under similar circumstances due to the non availability of drugs. Two more patients reportedly had died before for the same reason.

As per a High Court order in 2012, anti-haemophilic drugs must be available in the hospitals round-the-clock for which the government has allocated Rs 1.5 crore as against Rs 5.5 crore sanctioned in the budget.  The money has reportedly not been used for the procurement of vital drugs for haemophilic patients.

“We are some 270 patients registered in Kashmir and the majority of them have permanent disabilities due to chronic bleeding in their joints,” said Asif a haemophilic patient. “The authorities have turned a blind eye towards our miseries. There are no drugs available for patients.” 

As per the reports, out of 90 patients, 45 have contracted hepatitis-C, four, hepatitis-B and one HIV.

“In other countries, such patients can live a normal life,” Asif said. “They can play and can do anything like a normal people but in Kashmir being haemophilic is a curse.”

“Gone are the days when patients would die of haemophilia but over a period of time,” another patient Abid Ahmad said. “Nowadays the treatment is highly advanced and a vast majority of patients are expected to live longer.”

Hemophilia is a group of hereditary genetic disorders that impairs the body’s ability to control blood clotting or coagulation. 

As per WHO parameters about 20000 people are suffering from this disorder in Jammu and Kashmir and the treatment is confined to SMHS and SKIMS only.

The most common treatment given to these patients has been the infusion of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) which has been banned by the world health organization (WHO) as it has led to the cause of Hepatitis-c and other dreadful diseases.

Haematology is not advanced in Kashmir as compared to other states of India. A pathologist diagnoses a haemophilic patient which in turn leads to so many problems. 

Patients are asked to visit GMC for diagnosis and to SKIMS for surgery and at both the places there is no adequate treatment available,” said Mehraj Ahmad, a young haemophilic patient.

“The authorities must be booked for criminal negligence for not keeping the availability of drugs in the hospitals,” Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) president Dr.Nisar –ul-Choudhary said. “Most patients die due to non availability of drugs in the hospitals.”

Depriving such patients of life saving drugs, he said, amounts to disregarding human life. Haemophilic patients in rest of the world live a normal life but in Kashmir they are dying due to lack of medicines.

“We don’t have funds to procure medicines from outside,” Medical superintendent SMHS, Dr. Nazir Choudhary said. “Unless the government releases funds, we will not be able to provide medical help to these patients.”

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