By Elias Hakizimana.
Many people suddenly die from Thrombosis just simply because they were not aware of this rapid and silent killer.
Also known as ‘Clot’, Thrombosis refers to the coagulation or clotting of the blood in a part of the circulatory system.
Few days ago, a friend of mine died from this silent Killer, three weeks after giving birth, she left a three-month old baby. Such a situation was unbelievable and it was revealed by medic doctors that she died from Clot.
The Inspirer also has more testimonies of survivors of clot/thrombosis who have experienced a painful situation but survived because of medical treatment.
Such common complication that can occur after deep vein thrombosis is known as postphlebitic syndrome, also called post-thrombotic syndrome. Damage to someone’s veins from the blood clot reduces blood flow in the affected areas, which can cause: Persistent swelling of legs.
Patients whose symptoms look like this and include swelling of legs, Gradual onset of pain, Redness, Warmth to the touch, Worsening leg pain when bending the foot, Leg cramps, especially at night, and often starting in the calf are advised to visit a medic doctor as they might have Thrombosis.
Christine Ashimwe, Health Advocate and Founder of Rwanda Clot awareness is a survivor of Thrombosis and her own experience made her to stand up for a mass awareness to prevent others dying from this illness as it was not yet discovered in Rwanda by then.
She revealed how costly the disease is and that it can involve some losses. Ashimwe was speaking during the celebration of World Thrombosis Day on October 13, 2018 in Kigali, King Faisal Hospital.
She started awareness campaigns since 2014 and put in efforts so that the disease is annually highlighted through the celebration of the World Thrombosis Day.
“With a number of my colleagues-survivors of Clot, we thank God to save our lives as one out of four people is predisposed to dying from it. God used medic doctors and they successfully treated us and we were recovered.” Ashimwe said.
She thanks the Government of Rwanda to help her create Rwanda Clot Awareness Network in 2016.
The network started without Government’s intervention as she explains “we were only friends and families at my home compound where we started the network but we were also with some medic doctor experts who trained us and since then we took a decision to go ahead raising a voice to prevent people dying from clot,”
“I acknowledge the involvement of Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) that accepted to help us expand awareness campaign,” she says.
Ashimwe was given ambassadorship to lead 120 countries worldwide after competing for it and became a leader of World Thrombosis Association. In this competition, she was representing Rwanda.
Highland and United Kingdom that followed Rwanda started awareness before and Rwanda started in 2016. “I believe that the speed we have now will help us to save lives of many people, because most of deaths attached to clot are due to lack of knowledge about the disease,” she says.
She also acknowledges Vine pharmacy, lancet laboratory tests clot, King Faisal Hospital, team heart to further the awareness campaign.
Rwanda clot awareness network is formed by patients and clot survivors, researchers, medic doctors, and more.
Ashimwe was astonished when one of the doctors who revealed she had Pulmonary embolism (pulmonary clot) only saw it by having a single look at her. She had also respiratory complications.
“The junior medic doctor revealed my illness while his senior was denying, he insisted and they invited a specialist who also re-affirmed I had clot in both lungs after scanning test and now I am surviving,”
She requests the government of Rwanda to set up policies that help doctors to treat clot at the early stage.
“Various hospitals fail to treat clot as they cannot reveal it, sometimes it is confused to infection until when patients die. We are here to partner with government entities to set up policies that help doctors reveal it early because it is treated and cured,” said Ashimwe.
She also said that treatment and drug affordability are expensive. She requested RBC to help pregnant women have standalone antenatal classes to learn more about clot so that they get aware of how to proceed with treatment.
Prof Jeannine Condo, Director General of RBC said that not all women can suffer from clot when giving birth. She encourages pregnant women who can guess any of the clot’s symptoms to seek for medical treatment early.
“We have equipment to test and treat thrombosis. What we need is to put efforts in doing research on the illness but there is no crisis yet, we are going to increase awareness in not only women but in general population,” said Prof Condo.
The recent survey by Rwanda Clot Awareness Network in three hospitals including King Faisal, CHUK and Rwanda Military Hospital revealed that among 150 pregnant women, only 14 (9.3%) knew the illness.
According to Prof. Dr Emile Rwamasirabo, Chief Executive Officer of King Faisal Hospital, the clot is commonly affecting pregnant women, people with diabetes or high blood pressure, people who have had surgical operation, people who suffered from cancer, etc.
Experts say that 1 of 4 people is predisposed to dying from Thrombosis in developed countries including Europe.
In Rwanda, some people are dying from it unsuspectingly; others are suffering from its side effects while some others are surviving with it. Yet, there are no statistics recorded.
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