By Ben Musanje
14th Sept 2023
The Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation (USCRF) has suggested to the government to enact a policy of testing couples before getting married for cell traits to empower the fight against Sickle Cell Anemia in the country.
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder which occurs in children whose parents are genetic carriers of sickle cell gene.
Tracy Nagawa the USCRF Program officer, while launching the 6th Sickle Cell Counting Medical Education (CME) conference in Kampala noted that the fight lacks a specific policy of having it mandatory for couples to be educated and tested for sickle cell trait before getting married.
Nagawa further says the government should also gazette specific drugs in health centers that are used in sickle cell treatment in the country to ease the sicklers in acquiring particular medication.
She further calls on the religious leaders to embark on subjecting couples intending to get married to sickle cell testing as it is a request on HIV/AIDs.
Globally, medical experts advise that sickle cell patients should not marry a carrier of the sickle cell gene, because there is a 50 percent chance of a baby getting the blood disorder.
However, a sickle cell patient can marry an individual with no trait of the disease as their offspring will only be carriers of the sickle cell genes.
Now, the CME conference organized on September 28, 2023 at Mayors Garden in Lira City is aimed at providing healthcare practitioners with up-to-date knowledge, evidence- based practices and practical tools to enhance their clinical skills in treating patients with sickle cell disease.
A recent survey from the Ministry of Health indicates that an estimate of between 25,000 and 30,000 children are born with SCD annually and 13.2 percent of Ugandans have the Sickle Cell trait.