Sickle Cell Disease in Nigeria: A Public Health Crisis

Sickle cell disease (SCD) poses a significant public health challenge in Nigeria. This inherited blood disorder affects red blood cells, causing them to become sickle-shaped and less effective at carrying oxygen. This leads to chronic pain, anemia, and other severe complications, often with fatal consequences.
In Nigeria, SCD is the most common genetic disorder, affecting an estimated 2% of the population. The disease significantly contributes to infant and maternal mortality rates, highlighting the urgent need for effective intervention.
The Nigerian government has recognized the gravity of this issue and is taking steps to integrate SCD care into maternal and child healthcare services. This approach aims to improve early diagnosis and treatment, ultimately reducing the burden of the disease. One key initiative is the implementation of universal newborn screening, which would enable early identification and intervention for affected infants.
Despite these efforts, significant challenges remain. A lack of adequate healthcare facilities and trained personnel hinders the effective management of SCD. Additionally, limited resources and awareness pose further obstacles to providing comprehensive care for those affected.

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Posted on

2 July 2024