Have you ever heard of Sickle Cell Disease? Do know the negative impact of SCD? Do you know your sickling status? Do you know it is a determinant of who should marry and not marry?
In recent times, many diseases pop up ranging from inherited traits to acquired traits. Inherited traits are passed on from parents to children, as a result of that the child is exposed to different diseases that may lead to untimely death after spending huge sum of money just to soothe the illness. This is known as Genetic Disease. Genetic disease is an unusual distorted change in an individual’s DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Genetic disease is a health scare to an individual and the society as well.
According to Arlen Specter an American lawyer and politician, “There is nothing more important than our good health- that’s our capital asset. Every individual needs good health to carry out their daily activity for the progress of the country."
In a researched article, Burden of sickle cell disease in Ghana: 'The Korle-Bu Experience' reveals that, in Africa, sickle cell disease is major public health where over 200,000 babies are born per year. In Ghana, approximately 15,000 (2%) of Ghanaian newborns are diagnosed with sickle cell disease”. This clearly indicates that Ghana is losing its capital asset.
Sickle Cell Disease (hence SCD) is one the major genetic disease in the world. Many cases of SCD are managed in various hospitals across Ghana and the world as well. SCD is a genetic condition from parents to off-springs where the red blood cells change from the normal red blood cell to an abnormal crescent shape. Normal red blood cells move easily through blood vessels, whereas the sickle shaped cells interconnect leading to blood clot.
|Vision loss||Chronic Pain||Jaundice||Headache|
|Anemia||Hand-foot syndrome||Chest pain||Illness and infections|
|Leg ulcers||fatigue||shortness of breath||dizziness|
There are numerous of chronic symptoms which may lead to death if sickle patients do not follow doctors’ advice. SCD puts parents and children in distress, spending more time and money to soothe the illness whereas this genetic condition could have been prevented at the initial stages of the relationship or before marriage. Both spouse must check their sickling status before marriage, in order to prevent an innocent child from suffering and putting their lives in danger.
The three blood cells genes are AA, AS, and SS. The AA are not carriers, also can marry any of the other two (AS and SS) while AS are carriers but do not show symptoms of the disease and SS has the sickling disease. AS and SS should not conceive because the probability of producing an SS child is high.
- the disease has no cure
- the disease requires lifelong management
The Ministry of Health together with various sickle cell associations are doing well and should continue to organize more trainings and advocacy sessions on SCD in order to raise awareness of SCD in various institution, organizations and the public at large. Visit the nearest hospital and get tested of SCD to know your sickling status, results are instant. Help reduce SCD- Health scare.