5,000 Babies Undergo Sickle Cell Screening in Anambra

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David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

A total of 5,106 new born babies have been screened of sickle cell disease since the institution of the screening laboratory in Anambra State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike has said.

Stating this in Awka during a press briefing to mark this year’s World Sickle Cell Day, he said 4,061 of the babies were AA, 1,001 were AS, while 38 of them were SS.

He said the screening programme, instituted in collaboration with Global Sickle Cell Alliance, Associations of Public Health Laboratories and its partners, was targeted at improving quality of life of children with the disease in the state.

“This initiative is aimed at improving survival and quality of life for children with SCD by instituting early newborn diagnosis and establishing standardised care that is sustainable through capacity building of service provision in a comprehensive manner from laboratory diagnosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation,” he added.

The commissioner described as ridiculous the prevalent cases of sickle cell disease in the 21st Century society with high level of enlightenment and medical facilities availability.

He however expressed optimism that the screening exercise, if sustained and given wider coverage, would assist in early detection and management of majority of cases to increase the life expectancy in people living with the condition.