World Sickle Cell Day was established by the United Nations general assembly in 2008 in order to increase the awareness about the sickle cell disease and its cure among public.
The Day was first time celebrated in Ghana 19th June 2009.
Mr Ebenezer Nii Martey, a strategic planner for Peer Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) disclosed that, “usually, no one can tell if someone is a sickle patient, until a medical test is proven, we can’t tell a sickle cell patient or know exactly which type it is”
He continued, “everyone needs to be tested in order to avoid marrying someone also with the trait (usually AS+AS). Early screening should be encouraged such that right after birth, the child is tested to find out whether he or she has the trait or not. Advocacy has it that everyone should get tested for sickling status”.
Mr Martey claimed, about 15,000 babies are born annually with sickle cell as the carrier is born with the disease.
WHAT IS SICKLE CELL
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia- a condition in which there isn’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body. In sickle cell anemia, there is abnormal haemoglobin which causes red blood cells to become rigid, sticky and misshapen.
The Sickle Cell An
emia is passed on from generations to generations in a pattern of inheritance called autosomal recessive inheritance. This means that both the mother and father must pass on the defective form of the gene for the child to be affected. If one parent passes the sickle cell gene to the child that child will have the sickle cell trait with one normal haemoglobin gene and one defective form of the gene
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
Sickle cell anaemia is usually diagnosed in infancy; however you need to see the doctor right away if the following problems or symptoms develop in your body or child’s body:
- Unexplained episodes of severe pains such as pain in the abdomen, chest bones or joints.
- Swelling in the hands or feet
- Abdominal swelling especially if the area is tender to the touch
- Fever can be first sign of an infection since people with sickle anaemia have an increased risk of an infection
- Pale skin or nail beds
- Yellow tint to the skin or white of the eyes
- Symptoms of stroke
If you carry the sickle cell trait, seeing a genetic counsellor before trying to conceive can help you understand your risk of having a child with sickle cell anaemia. He or she can also explain possible treatments, preventive measures and reproductive options.
Problems in sickle cell disease typically begin around 5 to 6 months of age. A number of health problems may develop, such as attacks on pain (sickle cell crisis), (anaemia, swelling in the hands and feet, bacterial infections and stroke)
Long term pain may develop as people get older. The average life expectancy in the developed world is 40 to 60 years.
SS-it is usually obvious to identify such a person but as it usually not seen until the person is tested. Everyone needs to be tested in order to avoid marrying someone also with the trait (usually AS + AS)
Source: Elizabeth Adomah and Minnette Akuamoah/pinkfmonlinegh.com