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Kisumu To Host Conference On Sickle Cell Disease

Kisumu County is set to host the first Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and Hemphilia conference in Kenya to take stock on the fight against the inherited blood disorders.

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Medical Services, Public Health and Sanitation Dr. Gregory Ganda said the conference scheduled from June 12th-14th 2024 targets to create awareness and advocate for better health care amidst rising cases in the country.

SCD, a debilitating genetic blood disorder is particularly present in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In Kenya, the burden of the disease is high in the western region including the counties surrounding Lake Victoria and along the coastal strip.

Dr. Ganda said a majority of children with SCD in Africa die undiagnosed with 50-90% dying before their fifth birthday.

In Kisumu where approximately 20,000 children are born yearly, he added, it is projected that 500 of them will die of Sickle Cell anaemia within five years.

Dr. Ganda said analysis of data available at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Kisumu reveals that on average a sickle cell client suffers 5 episodes of crises annually with 5-10 days of hospitalization per episode.

‘That means a mother will spend 25-50 days confined in a hospital bed with her child,’ he said.

This, he observed contributes to high productivity losses exposing families to great financial risks while limiting their access to quality health.

Despite its high prevalence, SCD, he said remains one of the neglected and least prioritised health issues with the affected families and individuals struggling with significant physical, psychological and economic challenges.

The conference, the first of its kind in the country, he said will bring together renowned experts, policy makers, affected families, innovators, research institutions, academic institutions and government agencies to share best practices and formulate strategies to improve access to quality health care for the diseases.

‘The conference aims to stimulate programs th
at will create a lasting impact on the lives of those affected by the two diseases,’ he said.

Kisumu County, he said was on the forefront in addressing gaps in the management of the two diseases revealing that through partnerships, the county has rolled out universal new born screening and collaborations to establish a bone marrow transplant centre.

Source: Kenya News Agency