Know your sickle cell status before marriage – Experts

Madam Charlotte Owusu, Founder of the Sickle Cell Condition Advocates (SICCA), has appealed to people intending to marry to know the sickle cell status of their partners before marriage.

She said the disease was assuming an alarming proportion in the country due to the fact that most people do not check their status before going into marriage resulting in them marrying partners who also have the sickle cell in their genes.

Madam Owusu was addressing a workshop on Sickle Cell Advocacy Project in Tamale on Thursday for some health professionals from the three northern regions.

The workshop was jointly organized by the Ministry of Health and the Sickle Cell Condition Advocates (SICCA).

Madam Owusu said the team would sensitize groups and associations including students in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions lasting for one month in each region.

Dr. Tsease Kyemenu-Caiquo, Vice President of West African College of Physicians, said the disease is most common among people whose ancestors originate from the malarial areas of the world particularly in Africa, Asia, the Middle and Far East, the Mediterranean Islands and South America.

Dr. Kyemenu-Caiquo said more than 300,000 children are born with the disease each year world-wide and that the World Health Organization says about 25-30 percent of Ghanaians carry the sickle cell genes that can result in the disease.

Dr. Ivy Ekem, Head of Haematology Department of Korle bu Teaching Hospital, said the hospital had registered about 24,516 persons with the disease as at April, recorded 11,455 attendances of sickle cell patients in 2009 and registered 414 new cases the same year.

Dr. Frank Owusu Sekyere of the Children’s Block of the Korle bu Teaching Hospital said malaria was common among sickle cell patients and respiratory diseases, acute chest syndrome, pain in the rib, spines and limbs are also frequent occurrences.

Source: GNA

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