Sickle Cell Disease, SCD, is a genetic disorder of the haemoglobin (oxygen carrying capacity of blood) due to a single amino acid substitution with valine replacing glutamic acid. In low oxygen state affected red blood cells become deformed changing from a doughnut-shape to a sickle-like rigid form that blocks blood follow to vital organs, thus causing tissue damage. This is responsible for generalised pain, end organ damage among other features.
SCD is a debilitating condition and symptoms begin as early as five-six months of life such as generalised body pain, infections and stroke. The risk of death is highest during the first three years of life. Simple cost-effective measures such as early diagnosis, health promotion and preventive therapies instituted early will improve survival and quality of life. Simple cost effective prophylaxis including penicillin, antimalarial therapy, folic acid and fluid intake can be introduced early in childhood.
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Why? Together, we can serve as a catalyst for change within Nigeria, Africa as a whole and further afield research and management of SCD.
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