26 June 2009

Gambia: World Sickle Cell Day Celebrated

The Sickle Cell Association of the Gambia, on Saturday, 20 June, organized a symposium at the Father Farrell Hall, on the theme: "Sickle Cell and Education".

In her welcoming statement, Madam Njaimeh Mboge said the theme for the symposium was chosen because most of the people affected with the disease are school going children.

The guest speaker, Mr. Louis Mendy, in his presentation, described the sickle cell disease as a disorder that hereditary. According to a study on Africans and Americans births, he said, it is found that one out of every five hundred births is affected with the disease. He said the purpose of the gathering is to create awareness among the people in order to change the attitude towards sickle cell patients. This awareness, he said, is necessary as it will help both society and the government to be able to develop approaches in dealing with the patients.

Mr. Mendy emphasized the need for teachers to know more about the disease so that they will be able to teach about it and to better handle those suffering from sickle cell. He urged student patients to tell their teachers about their sickle cell conditions.

According to Mr. Mendy, sickle cell patients suffer more during the cold season and therefore need moderate temperatures.

As a member of the association, he said their main aim is to meet every person affected with disease for the purpose of enlightening them. He said it is also important for those suffering from the sickle cell to go and make tests in order for them to know about their hemoglobin.

When questioned about the type of medicine they would advice the patients to be taking, Madam Mboge recommended 'Pholic acid', adequate water, pain killer. She added that there should be regular checkup, demonstration of love and care toward patients and interaction with other people. She advised that the affected person should not be overworking themselves and should avoid stress.

Delivering the vote of thanks, Miss Maimuna Camara, acknowledged the support given by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the support as well as the sponsors for making the activity successful.

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