Kia ora koutou,
As of today all of New Zealand is on day twenty-one of alert level four - a full lockdown for at least four weeks. That means that most of us have been confined to home for the best part of three weeks. The good news is that all this social distancing seems to be doing the trick, with new cases slowing, and recoveries growing.
Still, it is important that we continue to follow the rules around alert level four! So, we should all be at home in our bubbles making sure we're not putting ourselves or others at risk of infection. You can find out more about what alert level four means here: https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/
Late last week the World Federation of Hemophilia hosted a webinar, Bleeding disorders and Covid-19. This was a very interesting watch, which largely confirmed the information we already have. The first section dealt with facts and risks, the second looked at the clinical frontline in Italy, and the third looked at how it was being dealt with in Egypt. This was followed by a Q & A session. You can watch the whole webinar here.
The key points from the webinar are:
- Bleeding disorder treatment products are not at risk of contamination or reduced supply
- People should continue to get and use their treatment products as normal
- People with bleeding disorders are not at greater risk than the general population
- There is currently no evidence of thrombotic complications with non-factor replacement therapies like emicizumab.
- Remember, all HFNZ communication channels remain open, so follow us on Facebook, look out for our emails, and feel free to reach out to your Outreach Worker on 0508 FACTOR (322 867) if you need support or information.
Finally, the Outreach team continue to work to connect personally with our community while we're in lockdown. If you haven't heard from them yet, you can expect to soon.
Remember to keep yourself safe, be kind and be patient.
What we are doing
HFNZ are maintaining ongoing contact with key groups, including clinicians and pharmaceutical companies, and taking advice from the World Federation of Hemophilia and the NZ Ministry of Health.
All regional events and the upcoming youth camp are postponed. This decision will be reviewed on 1 July 2020.
All staff will be working from home and not physically meeting with members until further notice. Our Outreach team are always available if you need to reach out for support. Just call 0508 FACTOR. Outreach Workers will be in closer contact over the coming weeks, and are always at the end of the phone or email.
The next issue of Bloodline, due out at the end of April, will be an online only publication. That means you'll receive it via email rather than in the post. We hope to print some at a later date, for those without access to email.
Our annual member survey is still running. This is a great way to help the HFNZ team do their work, and you can go in the draw for one of two $50 Prezzy cards: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2020HFNZsurvey.
What you can do
- Stay home, unless you are an essential worker.
- Implement all other social distancing measures mandated by the current Covid-19 alert level.
- Keep your treatments up to date, with a two-week supply on hand.
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Observe strict cough etiquette by coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue. Discard the tissue immediately into a closed bin.
- Take extra precautions for elderly or immune-compromised groups.
- Be kind to each other!
If your work has been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and your income is affected you may be able to get financial support from the government. To find out more about your options check out the dedicated Work and Income Covid-19 page: https://workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/emergencies/2020/coronavirus.html.
If you have von Willebrands you may be interested in giving feedback on the WFH's draft vWD clinical guidelines and recommendations. This is being done via an online survey. To read the draft guidelines and complete the survey click here.
Bleeding disorder products
As stated above, there is no concern over treatment supply. Companies are required to have 3-6 months stock in the country at any time, and all freight supply routes remain open. That means patients should carry on as normal as far as their treatment goes.
Please do not stockpile treatment products, as this may affect availability for others.
The World Federation of Hemophilia advise that there is currently no known risk to blood, blood treatment products, or plasma derived products.
Haemophilia Treatment Centres
As essential services, all haemophilia treatment centres remain available. However, at the moment all contact is by phone or online.
As you can imagine, sharing details of any bleed, swelling, or other injury can be difficult when you're not face to face. The best bet, if you can manage it is to meet via video link, like Facetime or Zoom. That way the clinician can see and speak to you in real time.
If you're emailing a photo, here are some tips to make it easier for the person trying to assess the injury:
- Indicate which part of your body they're looking at
- Indicate the orientation of the image, i.e which way is up
- Include something to indicate the size of the area, like a ruler or a tape measure
- Try to include other anatomical landmarks, i.e. if it's a photo of your ankle, include your whole foot.
Here's how you can connect with your local HTC:
Auckland - Contact Karen or Vanessa at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 09 307 4949 ext 25285.
Waikato - Contact Maureen Campbell at Maureen.Campbell@waikatodhb.health.nz or on 021 846 920 or 07 839 8899 ext 23638.
Palmerston North - Contact Darryl at Daryl.Pollock@midcentral.co.nz or on her cell 0272408254 as she is working from home. If anyone needs to be seen, it can be sorted out at the time.
Wellington - Contact the haemophilia CNS BJ Ramsay as normal at Brian.Ramsay@ccdhb.org.nz or via the haemophilia phone on 0273345081.
Canterbury - Contact Kathy at email@example.com or 027 526 1574 during office hours.
Southern - Contact Val Waugh at Val.firstname.lastname@example.org or on 027 269 9383, or the haematologist on call via main operator Dunedin Hospital at 03 474 0999 for any urgent problem.
Where you can find out more
There are several useful sources of NZ-based information about the Covid-19 outbreak:
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also has a wealth of information and resources:
We understand that there is a lot of confusing and contradictory information available at the moment. This link from WHO busts some of the myths:
We will be regularly updating our website and Facebook page, as well as sending out emails with the latest information.
If you have any questions, please contact HFNZ via the 0508 FACTOR number or at email@example.com.