The following article was written by a Good Health Aficionado, ISMAIL ABUBAKAR, a resident of one of the Northern States in Nigeria.
Sickle cell disease, a genetically determined disorder is common in Nigeria especially the northern part of the country. In Nigeria, poor availability of resources to the public health and welfare sectors and economic inflation are severely curtailing access to appropriate medical and social services. This situation is frustrating to the families of a growing number of surviving patients in or middle income groups.
Lack of literacy and medical awareness in the northern part of Nigeria is alarming making the number of sickle cell patient increases by the day, increasing frustration and stigmatisation in the absence of a commensurate improvement of services. However, any measures aimed at enhancing the sensitization of health professionals, policy makers and resource allocators to the persistent issues in the control of sickle cell disease (SCD) would seem to be at this stage an important step in the right direction.
Sickle cell disease (SCD), being one of the most common life threatening genetic disorders worldwide. However, a fundamental understanding and knowledge of the clinical syndromes of sickle cell patients is of importance, which most part of the northern people of the affected patients and their families lack about sickle cell disease (SCD) and unfortunately, also a very rare portion of the people living with Sickle cell disease knows their status about the disease due to the rate of illiteracy and awareness.
Most of the people living with SCD are rural settlers, and by this, the risk of
the disease increasing by the day. Moreover, there’s a gross absence of dedicated sickle cell centres which make it difficult to keep abreast of current knowledge and practices in the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD). Although, intervention programs have been implemented for several other conditions such as HIV/AIDS and malaria eradication, there are no established programmes for sickle cell disease despite the substantial associated morbidity and mortality. Thus, lack of demonstration of towards early diagnosis in improving the quality of lives and survival in SCD, despite the fact that the awareness prior to any union commitment seems limited both in urban and rural communities across the country.