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Newborn screening program for sickle cell launched at Lira hospital


Lira, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health has launched the Consortium on Newborn Screening in Africa-CONSA, a network that seeks to demonstrate the benefits of newborn screening and early interventions for children with sickle cell disease, for the Lango sub-region.

CONSA will combine newborn screening and early intervention using the standard of care regimen that includes routine immunization, folic acid administration and anti-bacterial prophylaxis among others. Currently, the CONSA project is being implemented at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health says that the project will see the quality of life of people with sickle cell disease improved.

Dr Aceng however warned parents of the children to take good care of them and adhere to the prescription.

She says that the program will be rolled out to all the regional referral hospitals in the country.

Dr William Oyang, the Pediatrician Consultant at Lira Regional Referral Hospital is excited about the launch saying the sickle cell clinic will now be maintained to help the patients.

Dr Charles Kiyaga, the National Sickle Cell Coordinator tasked the nurses and doctors to remain vigilant in identifying the newborns and offer proper care to them at an early stage.

Safina Awaya, a 32-year-old sickle cell patient is excited about the program saying it will help them in receiving the much-needed care. However, she prayed that a special unit is set up to treat sickle cell patients especially now that they are in a mixed unit.

The National sickle cell survey showed that the prevalence of the trait (commonly known as carrier capacity) stands at 13.3% of the entire population and that of the disease was at 0.73% although the distribution across the country is not uniform.

However, 49 districts majorly from the high burden region were found to carry 47% of the entire national burden. These regions include the mid-north and Eastern Uganda.



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