Public urged to check sickle cell status

By Julius K. Satsi/Priscilla N. Nyamekye, GNA

Accra, Oct. 9, GNA – The University of Ghana
(UG) in collaboration with the Sickle Cell Condition Advocate, a
Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has commenced a five-day sickle cell
screening, calling on the public to check for their sickle cell status.

The exercise is being undertaken as part of
the 70th Anniversary celebration of UG to raise awareness of the sickle cell
among students and staff as well as encouraging them to check their sickle cell
status.

Professor Gordon A. Awandare, the Director of
West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious pathogens (WACCBIP), in an
interview with the Ghana News Agency, said there was the need for everyone to
know their sickling status.

He said it was significant for all to know
their status because when the sickle cell disease was easily diagnosed, it
becomes preventable due to the various management options available for the
condition.

He said once people are diagnosed for the
sickle cell condition during the screening, they would be referred to the
hospital for treatment adding that, there would be counsellors present at the
screening centre to assist individuals diagnosed with the condition.

Professor Awandare said if individuals in
relationships check their status, they are able to make good decisions to help
save their offspring from inheriting the condition, adding that “Most people
have children who are ‘sicklers’ but they don’t know until it is too late or
the child has suffered for a while”.

He said the condition was prevalent in malaria
endemic areas like countries in West Africa, adding that the sickling genes in
people who are ‘carriers of the sickle cell (AS-status)’ are usually immune
against malaria.

He said WACCBIP was established by the World
Bank to provide specialised training for health professionals in West Africa,
with expertise in cell and molecular biology and how it is applied to provide a
better understanding of diseases both infectious and non-communicable diseases.

On her part, Mrs Charlotte Owusu, the Founder
of the Sickle Cell Condition Advocate reiterated that it was important for
every adult to know their sickle cell status but said it was best for parents
to check the status of new born babies.

he said the condition was preventable if both
partners in a relationship to know their status in order to prevent their
children from suffering from the condition.

Mrs Owusu said after losing her only daughter
at the age of 17 years due to her sickling status (SS-status) in 1995, she had
seen how the conditions could deprive a family of their joy apart from spending
a lot of money in medications.

She said there was a number of complications
associated with the condition, thereby calling on a young people to be know
their status before engaging in a marital relationship.

She said currently, there are 75 per cent of
people in Ghana without the condition (AA-status), 25 per cent carriers
(AS-status) and 2 per cent living with the status including her 40-year old
son.

In an interview some of the students after
watching a short movie on the need for everyone to check their status, Ms
Asantewa Sisi Yaa Bosompem, a Level 400 Cell and Molecular student of the
Department of Biochemistry at UG, said it was really important to check one’s
status.

She urged young people to check their status
saying, “Do not let love blind you to bring problems on your children”.

Mr Emmanuel Edem Adade, a Masters student at
the Department of Biochemistry at the University, said every young man should
be flexible to take the test and know their status and take precautionary
measures.

GNA  

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