New Vision (Kampala)

10 December 2012

Uganda: Cases of Sickle Cells On the Rise

The sickle cell clinic in Mulago Hospital has registered an increase in the number of patients.

Speaking during the Christmas party for sickle cell patients at Mulago on Saturday, the head of the clinic, Florence Alupo, said they treat between two to 10 new sickle cell cases everyday.

She said by 2005, they had registered 4,000 sickle cell patients in the clinic but the number had risen to 8,770 this year.

Alupo said the overwhelming number of patients does not match the limited number of staff. She added that the clinic has only five nurses and one doctor.

Sickle cell disease refers to blood disorders of which sickle cell anaemia is the most severe and commonest form worldwide. Abnormal haemoglobin turns the red blood cells into crescent or sickle shapes, which are sticky and stiff. The shapes hinder the smooth flow of blood, leading to severe limb pain and damage of organs.

Alupo revealed that the majority of the patients at the clinic are from Kampala and its surroundings.

"We intend to train health workers across the country so that they can handle cases of sickle cells in their areas," she said.

She warned parents who take their sick children to traditional healers, saying the disease is inherited from parents and they should instead seek medication from hospitals.

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