Today the 19th of June 2020, we commemorate the 11th Anniversary of World Sickle Cell Day, a United Nations recognized day to raise awareness. Despite the high number of patients in Kenya with Sickle Cell, there is no known statistics on the disease burden, hence tracing people living with the condition is a great challenge.
In accordance to this day, the Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital’s laboratory has been equipped with a machine for the electrophoresis of hemoglobin. This will be the first step of the project “Sickle Cell Anemia: a Pediatric-Hematologic Clinic for Nairobi Slums” co-financed by Chiesa Valdese through Otto per Mille.
Sickle Cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that affects the red blood cells, making them adopt a particular shape that leads to a loss of structural and functional integrity hence impairing their oxygen transport. Given its chronicity and economic costs, early diagnosis support can change the quality of life of patients. Clinical suspect is not enough to confirm the disease hence laboratory diagnosis is mandatory to provide specific information about natural history and cause of disease. Early diagnosis will aid in early interventions reducing the mortality and morbidity rate in Kenya.
Not many hospitals have expertise, diagnostics or facilities to care for such children. To address this, World Friends, together with the Children Sickle Cell Foundation (partner of the project) is spearheading efforts to raise awareness and to ensure better care for such patients.
With this new implemented project, World Friends aims to ensure the residents of the informal settlement can access laboratory service that offer diagnosis and referral centers to get appropriate treatment. This will help to break the silence and end the stigma related to sickle cell.