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Local doctors travel to Kenya to help with rare blood disorders

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A local healthcare team took their talents to another country to help a group of people with a rare blood disease.

Dr. Anthony Betbadal, a hematologist, and Stacie Akins, a physical therapist, went with a group from the Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center to Eldoret, Kenya.

This is Dr. Betbadal’s 5th trip to Kenya, and he says through his experience, it’s easier to diagnose men than women.

“We’re now trying to collaborate with OBGYN group in Eldoret to try and screen women for blood disorders and try to find those that have blood disorders. Sickle Cell is fairly common. In the U.S., it affects one in 500 people, while in Kenya it’s one in 200,” Dr. Betbadal said.

Akins has gone to Kenya since 2012. She says it’s important to note that blood disorders, like hemophilia, make people bleed in their joints.

“Our primary goal, in the beginning, was education, not only for our Kenyan team, but to be able to go out to other areas to provide that education. People just didn’t know about hemophilia at all,” Akins said.

It is estimated that more than 4,000 people in Kenya have been born with hemophilia, yet with the lack of appropriate care, less than a thousand have received treatment.