Sickle Cell Disease in East African Countries: Prevalence, Complications and Management

Joseph Kawuki *

Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering, Ministry of Education, Global Health School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210009, Jiangsu Province, China.

Taha Hussein Musa

Department Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering, Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210009, Jiangsu Province, China and Biomedical Research Institute, Darfur University College, Nyala, Sudan.

Nathan Obore

Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering, Ministry of Education, Global Health School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210009, Jiangsu Province, China.

Shireen Salome Papabathini

Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering, Ministry of Education, Global Health School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210009, Jiangsu Province, China.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most common life-threatening monogenic disorders affecting millions of people worldwide. The disease has a high prevalence in malaria-endemic tropics, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Although sickle-cell trait (SCT) offers protective advantage against malaria, it does not apply to homozygous individuals with sickle cell anemia but instead makes them more susceptible to not only malaria but to also other infections, causing a great deal of under-five mortality. Despite the fatal risks and high incidence rates of SCD, little attention is given, in terms of funding, management and surveillance, especially among East African countries. In addition, few works of literature exist, and less has been documented about the disease. This minireview aimed to report the current situation in terms of prevalence, mortality, diagnosis and management of SCD among East African countries; Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

SCD is characterised by retarded growth, chronic pain attacks and severe organ damage leading to fatal complications. This, coupled with limited resources in East African countries, reduces the survival of SCD patients and most die before five years. SCD is detected through a blood test usually by Haemoglobin electrophoresis, and Hydroxyurea therapy, antibiotics and blood transfusion are used to prevent complications. Early childhood detection through comprehensive newborn screening programmes has been implemented in some countries and is key in the management of the disease.

Keywords: Prevalence, sickle cell disease, East Africa, management.


How to Cite

Kawuki, J., Musa, T. H., Obore, N., & Papabathini, S. S. (2019). Sickle Cell Disease in East African Countries: Prevalence, Complications and Management. Journal of Advances in Medicine and Medical Research, 30(8), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.9734/jammr/2019/v30i830220

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