World Sickle Cell Day is a United Nation’s recognised day to raise awareness of sickle cell disease. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 22nd December 2008 with a resolution that recognises sickle cell disease as one of the world’s foremost genetic diseases.
The resolution calls for members to raise awareness of sickle cell on June 19th of each year at national and international level. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Nigeria alone accounts for more than 100,000 births of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) out of the 300,000 babies born with the sickle cell disease every year globally.
Here are a few things you should know about the most popular genetic disease. SCD is heredity and not communicable or transferrable from the patient to another person. It causes normal round and flexible blood cells to become stiff and sickle-shaped. It stops the blood cells, and the oxygen from being able to move freely around the body and causes pain, resulting in episodes of severe pain.
Over time, people with sickle cell can experience damage to organs such as the liver, kidney, lungs, heart and spleen. These damages often times results in death. Treatment of sickle cell-mostly focuses on preventing and treating complications with strong painkillers such as morphine to control the pain and not to cure the disease.
People with sickle cell are also at risk of complications stroke, acute chest syndrome, blindness, bone damage and priapism (a persistent, painful erection of the penis).
This genetic health problem poses the risk of premature child death. It can be controlled with the strategy of early detection, public awareness and effective partnership among countries. Children with SCD are at increased risk for stroke, the risk is highest between the ages of 2 and 16.
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