Sickle Cell: Physician makes case for early genotype testing

Sickle Cell: Physician makes case for early genotype testing

Thursday, September 26, 2019 3:27 pm

The Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF) has said that early genotype testing and screening remains the key preventive strategy against Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).

SCHAF Medical Advisor, Dr Taiwo Aderemi, made this known during a sensitisation and awareness exercise on SCD at Agbeni Market, in the Ibadan metropolis on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SCD is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from the parents.

Aderemi, a family health physician, said that sickle cell remained endemic in the country due to ignorance on the importance of genotype testing and premarital counseling.

“Nigeria remains the country with the highest prevalence rate of SCD in the world.

“The disease continues to be endemic in the country because of lack of adequate awareness, and many couples with wrong matching of conflicting genotypes are still marrying one another.

“Premarital genotype screening presents an opportunity for intending couples to become informed about their genetic predisposition to diseases and for couples to be aware of the possible genetic characteristics of their children.

“It is important that we continue to raise awareness on the importance of genotype testing, especially given the high rate of sickle cell in the country,” he said.

According to him, reducing the prevalence of sickle cell disease is important because of the burden it constitutes not only to the country but also to families.

“Problems in sickle cell disease begin around 5 to 6 months of age.

“A number of health problems may develop, such as bone pain, anaemia, swelling in the hands and feet, end organ damage, leg ulcer, bacterial infections, and stroke.

“All these problems are consistent characteristics of SCD and they pose significant financial and psychological problem to the sufferer and the family.

“Therefore, scaling up awareness and acceptance of genetic screening is crucial to reducing its public health burden,” he said.

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