The coordinator of the Sierra Leone Sickle Cell Disease Association (SLSCDS), Mrs Amelia Gabba, has disclosed that there are 23.9% sickle cell prevalence in the country which is the SS and the most severe case of sickle cell.
Speaking at a SCD partnership meeting over the weekend, the coordinator disclosed that some of the constrains faced by the SCD was that “the disease is not recognized as a priority disease, also there is poor awareness, lack of mobility and lack of resources which includes material, money, and manpower”.
The problems faced by the SCD, she went on, posed a significant public health problem and presented a specific challenge that had not been given due recognition.
Mrs Gabba said, “poverty, malnutrition, high prevalence of malaria and HIV/AIDS, are government’s priorities, sickle cell is also a major problem.”
Because of this, she noted, the SCD decided to launch a project proposal for 2008-2010 on the survival of children with sickle cell which would seek to improve the health status of children with sickle cell disease and reduce morbidity and mortality rates.
“It is aimed that by the end of the project a data bank on sickle cell will be established at the resource centre, and we aim at a holistic treatment and service centre available in the Western Area for treatment, training of personnel and for research”, she disclosed.
The SCD, she went on, also believed that there should be accessible and affordable clinical diagnosis and treatment of complications available and also genetic counselling services for couples, parents and affected individuals available.
Dr Olu Robin-Coker said the frequent question asked was whether sickle cell should be seen as a disease or a problem “but sickle cell should be considered as a problem and not as a disease.”