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HomeNATIONAL NEWSSickle Cell Disease, a Silent Killer In Ugandan Communities

Sickle Cell Disease, a Silent Killer In Ugandan Communities

Doctoral programsIn Uganda, about 15000-20000 babies are born annually with sickle cell anaemia. Unfortunately 80% of these newborns don’t get a chance of celebrating their 5th birthday of life.

Most local communities in Uganda still have a belief that this phenomenon is due to withcraft, others think that it’s a spiritual curse and punishment to adultery whereas many believe that sickle cell children have a life expectancy of less than 20years hence rendering sicklers less care.

The fact remains that Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a genetic haemoglobin disorder in which red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body change shape from a smooth doughnut shape (normal) to a half-moon shape (sickle & abnormal).

This change is caused by the substitution of valine for glutamic acid at the 6th position of the beta chains in a hemoglobin molecule.

This genetic mutation produces abnormal haemoglobin (Hbs) which cause sickled red blood cells to easily crystallize in conditions of low oxygen tension hence leading to a host of various health problems and crises including and not limited to, acute and chronic severe pain, infections, anemia, organ damage, stroke.

Symptoms of the disease mostly appear to occur from the age of 3-6months. A carrier couple (HbAHbs, HbAHbs) possess a 25%, 50%, 25% chance of bearing a sickler, carriers and normal children respectively.

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