By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Negros Occidental Rep. Ma. Lourdes “Marilou” T. Arroyo has exhorted her colleagues to extend all-out support to persons with hemophilia by ensuring that they have better access to medical care.
The vice chairperson of the House Committee on Health recently met with patients suffering from rare blood disorder, and vowed her support to the programs and initiatives of the 26-year old HAPLOS or Hemophilia Philippines Foundation Inc.
“Personally hearing the stories of those suffering from Hemophilia completely breaks my heart. With the best of my abilities as a legislator, I will help them in making sure that there will be easy access for treatment for this disease,” she said in a statement.
The former partylist lawmaker noted that the treatment for hemophilia could cost from P30,000 to P50,000 almost daily.
The blood of persons with hemophilia lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins to clot normally, she said.
“The bleeding mostly occurs internally within a person’s muscles and joints. For hemophilia patients, simple cuts can be fatal since they bleed for a longer time after an injury as their blood does not clot normally,” she said.
Arroyo had met with 18-year old John Lorenz who was confined in a wheelchair due to prolonged hip muscle bleeding.
“John Lorenz is one of the 1,500 Filipinos identified with hemophilia in the country who have been suffering with the disease due to lack of access and high cost of medication,” she laments.
“Hopefully, my fellow legislators in the House of Representatives can give me their utmost support to give the people with Hemophilia a better chance of life,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bagong Henerasyon partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy has filed House Bill 4237 which calls for the establishment of hemophilia treatment facilities in key cities and regions nationwide.
“The cost of treatment is very high, and therefore, inaccessible to majority of Filipino patients. Many of them suffer with chronic pain and deformities in the joints because of lack of access to proper treatment,” she said.
“Other countries like India and Malaysia give free treatment to their citizens who have bleeding disorders, ” she noted.
HB 4237 seeks to establish a standard of care for the treatment of persons with bleeding disorders. It seeks to ensure that adequate treatment of hemophilia at the lowest possible cost and make the treatment available for free to indigent patients.