The Hemophilia Foundation of Pakistan (HFP) services the national bleeding disorders community through four chapters in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Peshawar. HFP is very engaged across the country, but the identification rate of people with hemophilia (PWH) remains very low at only 12% of the expected rate. Increasing this number is a key challenge for the HFP—given that many areas of the country are remote and hard to access. To close this gap, the HFP applied to the WFH PACT Program—an endeavour designed to improve outreach and diagnosis and increase access to sustainable care for people with inherited bleeding disorders. One of their first successes under the Program is the launch of a national hemophilia helpline.
The helpline was developed to offer confidential resources to people with bleeding disorders (PWBDs) and their families. The free service is provided from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., six days a week, and is managed by two trained staff selected from the community. Emergency calls are also taken outside of the regular working hours. The helpline supports callers with:
- Basic information on bleeding disorders
- Referral for treatment, care and support facilities
- Guidance and couselling
- Emergency management recommendations
- Support for complaints
The National Hemophilia Helpline was launched on World Hemophilia Day this year. HFP produced a brochure which was widely distributed to advertise the free telephone service. A digital version of the brochure was posted on social media to maximize exposure to the local bleeding disorders community.
Since the helpline’s launch five months ago, the service has fielded over 1,150 calls on topics such as new patient registration, treatment availability, hemophilia treatment centre (HTC) locations, counselling, and complaints. It has also made referrals for HFP chapters and various HTCs. One caller named Zahra—whose son has hemophilia—had this to say about the service: “My son [was injured] while traveling…thanks to the national hemophilia helpline, we received timely guidance about the nearest HTC to deal with the emergency.”
I’m grateful to the [helpline staff], who referred me to the hospital for the registration of my newborn. This was my first child and getting timely guidance from the relevant person was very helpful.
- Abida Khan, Mother of a PWBD
The WFH will continue to support Pakistan in improving access to treatment across all provinces in the country. In 2019, the WFH supported the HFP’s efforts to develop a 2021-2025 strategic plan. Pakistan was enrolled in the WFH PACT Program in 2021 based on a national access plan drafted from the HFP’s 5-year strategic priorities.
The PACT Program is supported by funding from CSL Behring, Pfizer, Roche and Sanofi Genzyme, our leadership partners, and Biotest, Grifols, and Sobi, our collaborating partners.