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Sickle cell is not a death sentence – Expert

Dr Samson Sule, a Consultant Paediatrician, says sickle-cell disease (SCD), the foremost genetic disease is not a death sentence.

According to him, sickle-cell is an inheritable, genetic and fatal disease which causes red blood cell disorders, classified as sickle cell anaemia and which may lead to death, if not properly managed.

He said: “Sickle cell disease (SCD) is not the end of life and not a dead sentence, if properly managed with adequate knowledge and support the patient will survive”.

The consultant, who delivered a special lecture on sickle-cell anaemia, also said adequate management could prevent patients from having frequent crisis.

“Once you have ‘S’ gene in your blood, you are a carrier of the sickle cell but not the disease itself; all the same, you must be careful in selecting your life partner.

“The SS genotype is due to the abnormal formation of sickle-shape cell, instead of the normal disc shape of the blood cells, ’’he said.

He, therefore, advised parents to know their status and encourage their children to do same, saying “the easiest way out of the disease is ‘prevention’.

“For parents who delivered sickle cell children; it is not the end of life, it can be managed through drugs, taking enough water, regular check-up, prompt treatment of injury.

‘’Sickle cell patients should also avoid drug abuse, indulging in traditional practices such as tribal mark, incision and circumcision,” Sule said.

To raise awareness on the disease, the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 established the wear red for sickle call day to be commemorated every June 19. According to the UN, Sickle cell affects involves all directly or indirectly and it has affected and continues to affect many families who have lost family members as a result of the condition.



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