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07.01.2010 Health

Upsurge of sickle cell disease worrying

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Kumasi, Jan 6, GNA - A survey conducted by the National Sickle Cell Control Programme, shows that more than 16,000 Ghanaian children born within the last three years have the sickle cell disease.

Dr Andrew Adjei Druye, National Focal Person, described the figure as worrying and blamed the situation on public ignorance about the genetic and sickle cell status.

It is estimated that there are currently 400,000 Ghanaians living with the disease.

Dr Druye who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi described the disease as deadly and counter-productive to socio-economic development.

Persistent destruction of the immune system, bones and internal organs hasten the death of patients.

They also suffer chronic anaemia, bodily pains and general "cosmetic" disfigurement.

Dr Druye, who is also the Programmes Director of the Health Education Unit, Ghana Health Service (GHS), said since Ghana is ranked among countries with the highest population of sickle cell patients in Africa, the service is liaising with the United States Agency for International Development to establish Genetic Counselling and Testing centres across the nation.

The centres would be attached to government hospitals with the primary aim to test people for the disease, provide counselling, as well as treatment and management.

He said the GHS would also train health workers especially doctors and nurses to build their capacity, knowledge and skills to give proper care and efficiently manage sickle cell patients.

He advised the youth who want to marry to go for sickle cell test to know their status to help them to give birth to healthy children.


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