Sickle-Cell Disease: a strategy for the WHO African Region
Abstract1. Sickle-cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited disorder of haemoglobin. It is the most prevalent genetic disease in the WHO African Region. In many countries, 10%–40% of the population carries the sickle-cell gene resulting in estimated SCD prevalence of at least 2%. 2. The situation in the Region indicates that current national policies and plans are inadequate; appropriate facilities and trained personnel are scarce; and adequate diagnostic tools and treatment are insufficient. 3. Deaths from SCD complications occur mostly in children under five years, adolescents and pregnant women. Strategies and interventions to reduce SCD-related morbidity and mortality should focus on adequate management of these vulnerable groups. 4. This strategy provides a set of public health interventions to reduce the burden of SCD in the African Region through improved awareness, disease prevention and early detection. The interventions include improvements in health-care provision; effective clinical, laboratory, diagnostic and imaging facilities adapted to different levels of the health system; screening of newborns; training of health workers and development of protocols; genetic counselling and testing; accessibility to health care; establishment of patient support groups; advocacy; and research. 5. Success in implementing identified interventions will depend on the commitment of Member States to integrate SCD prevention and control in national health plans, and provide an environment conducive for various stakeholders to contribute to the reduction of SCD prevalence, morbidity and mortality. 6. The Regional Committee is invited to examine and adopt this proposed strategy.
Regional Committee for Africa, 60. (2011). Sickle-Cell Disease: a strategy for the WHO African Region. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/1682