The state-of-the-art puppet helping children understand their illness at East Kent Hospitals

A much loved member of the Haemophilia team at East Kent Hospitals is helping children across the county to understand their illness and treatment.

Jaffa is a procedural puppet. Just like any stuffed doll, he is made of cloth and stuffing, but has additional components that can be used to display injection ports and explain procedures to patients with Haemophilia.

Bumps and scrapes are a normal part of childhood. For most children, a tumble off a bike or a stray kick in a football game means a temporary bruise or a cut that heals with a scab. However, for those with Haemophilia, these everyday mishaps are cause for concern.

Haemophilia is a rare condition that affects the blood's ability to clot. It's usually inherited, and most people who have it are male. Normally substances in the blood known as clotting factors combine with blood cells called platelets to make the blood sticky. If injured, this eventually makes the bleeding stop.

People with Haemophilia don't have as many clotting factors as there should be in the blood. This means they bleed for longer than usual and can lead to bleeding into muscles and joints. As a result, muscles become weak, joints become painful and it can become difficult to move.

The specially designed puppet now being used at Kent and Canterbury Hospital is now providing a clever teaching tool. Jaffa is a cutting-edge procedural puppet can even have a naso-gastric tube in his nose, a cannula in his arm, a catheter, portacath in his chest, port holes in his joints and has an injectable abdomen.