A Neglected Cause of Early Childhood Mortality – Sickle Cell Anemiasickle cell child and father

This page is cited by other articles in PMC and US National Library of Medicine

Every year, almost 300,000 babies are born with a form of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). The majority of the cases are in sub-Saharan Africa and associated with a very high rate of childhood mortality, 50%-90%. Still there is a lack of reliable, up-to-date information and populations have little access to currently available treatments and preventive interventions.  Even in the absence of medication, health education has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing SCD mortality in young children. A pilot program in Benin has shown that with newborn screening and follow-up care, it is possible to reduce mortality among African children to the same level as other children.

 1sickle sell strong23836_oIn December 2008, the General Assembly  adopted a resolution on the “recognition of sickle-cell anemia as a public health problem,” and urged Member States and UN organizations to raise awareness of SCD.  Despite the fact that the UN has called for global efforts “to bring the disease out of the shadows,” relatively little attention has been given to easing the burden of SCD.  Enough is already known to justify investment in promoting widespread screening, health education, and treatment.  Moreover, Sickle Cell “warriors”, parents and caregivers often feel isolated from others in their communities and support groups will help ease their stress.

Village Volunteers in partnership with Dr. Marie Ojiambo/Sickle Strong Initiative gives medical students, pre-med students, public health, nutrition, therapy students, and health professionals interested in the support of those affected by sickle cell anemia an opportunity to have an impact.

Opportunities for Public Heath Students
 Educate newly formed support groups on the disease and present health-promoting information that will be co-designed in partnership with the Sickle Strong Initiative.

Opportunities for Pre-med and Medical Students

Work in clinical settings with medical preceptors in clinics, hospitals, and in support group meetings with those who are learning how to care for patients with SCD.

Goals and Objectives of Sickle Cell Disease Health:

  • To work with students and professionals on a disease endemic in Africa with sparse care and education
  • To bring patients and their families together to provide education on SCD
  • To provide a platform for the affected to share their battles, motivate each other and learn from each other
  • To provide opportunities for patients in need of advice on care, control and management of the disease
  • To provide a platform for positive change, motivation and inspiration of patients suffering from the disease.

Volunteer in Kenya or Ghana. Apply or contact us for more information at info@villagevolunteers.org.