Expert Advocates Increased Sensitization On Sickle Cell Disorders And Its Associated Dangers

Dr Tunji Akintade, a medical practitioner has said that there was a need for increased awareness and sensitization on the dangers of Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD), especially the high risk of stroke in children who suffer from it.

Dr Tunji, who is the Chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Lagos Chapter, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

“Honestly, statistics are scanty in Nigeria but it is evaluated that Nigeria contributes about half of the total estimated 300,000 newborns with sickle cell disorder annually.

“About one in 10 children with sickle cell anemia, who are aged two to 16 years, have a high risk of developing one or more strokes.

“This calls for an urgent need to create awareness on the dangers of SCD, especially the high risk of stroke in children who suffer from it.

“It is very important for all parents and guardians of children with sickle cell anaemia to be aware of this risk and be prepared to prevent an initial as well as recurrent stroke.

“Prevention of an initial stroke is referred to as primary prevention, while prevention of a recurrent stroke is termed as secondary prevention,” he said.

According to him, without urgent intervention, reoccurrence will often transform a stroke, which may have been mild or manageable, into one that can render normal physical and intellectual life impossible.

“This debilitating complication can hinder the child or affected patient’s mobility and also damage their intellectual ability.

“Government should ensure adequate techniques that will help in the early diagnosis of sickle cell anemia, as well as create awareness on its dangers and management.

“They also need to update medical practitioners on the current management of sickle cell disorder and also give support to people living with the condition,” he said.

Akintade said funding for sickle cell research in Nigeria was very poor and the situation required government and public intervention.