Only 1% of Ugandans Know Their Sickle Cell Status

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Daniel Roy Odur
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Alebtong, Uganda – Daniel Roy Odur, the executive director of the Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation, has said that Alebtong district has the highest prevalence of sickle cell in the country, with 23.8%, according to a 2016 study. He was addressing the media on Thursday at the Lira city council compound after a successful sickle cell conference held at Lira city council hall.

According to him, Northern Uganda therefore has the highest prevalence of sickle cell infection. The Lango sub-region is leading at the moment, followed by the Acholi sub-region. The 23.8% prevalence in Alebtong district is alarming.

The 6th Annual Nursing Conference, which featured a number of activities, brought together all third-year finalists from four nursing institutions: King James School of Comprehensive Nursing and Midwifery Lira, Victoria School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCI School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Lira School of Comprehensive Nursing and Midwifery.

He said that basic care and management of sickle cell need to be given to the finalists, especially on therapy and knowledge about sickle cell treatment, given the high prevalence of the disease in the region.

Dr. Andrew Sekotoleko said that misconceptions about sickle cell are common, and that only one percent of Ugandans know their sickle cell status. “We need to move the 1% of Ugandans who know their status to 10%,” said Dr. Sekotoleko.

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According to him, the more stressed a person is, the more burdened they are by the disease.

The function was officiated by Dr. Oyoo Charles Akiya, commissioner of non-communicable diseases at the Ministry of Health. He represented the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, who was away on official duty.

Dr. Oyoo said that about 50-60% of the diseases in Uganda are preventable. He thanked Hon. Dr. Jane Aceng Ocero for putting up a good initiative to enlighten the Ministry of Health about sickle cell awareness and capacity building, among others.

Dr. Oyoo cautioned students pursuing nursing and midwifery courses that they should not be money-minded because the medical profession is a calling. He wondered why most leaders did not turn up for the Uganda Sickle Cell Conference, which was a really great event.

The theme for the 6th Annual Nursing Conference was “Reflection of Evidence-Based Practice.”

Several sickle cell patients turned up in great numbers at Mayor’s Garden in Lira city on Thursday, but the number of those screened had not yet been established by press time.

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