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Sickle cell disease: Know your status when planning to have babies – Medical Officer to potential parents

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In commemoration of Sickle Cell Day celebrated worldwide on June 19, Dr. Solomon Oppong Akorley, a Medical Officer at the Upper East Regional Hospital, has emphasised the importance of knowing one’s genotype before entering into long-lasting relationships and planning to have children.

By raising awareness about genotypes, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of their children being born with sickle cell disease, according to Dr. Oppong Akorley.

During a recent interview with Mark Smith on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show, Dr. Oppong Akorley highlighted the crucial role that genotype knowledge plays in preventing sickle cell disease in children. Sickle Cell Day aims to raise awareness and foster a better understanding of the inherited blood disorder.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition that affects the shape and functionality of red blood cells. Individuals with sickle cell disease often experience chronic pain, organ damage, and a reduced lifespan. However, this debilitating condition can be prevented through informed decision-making regarding relationships and family planning.

“Sickle cell disease is chronic. It is unfortunate if you have it but it is not the end of life. There are newer developments that would help in the future. What we have now [treatment], is also helping. If you are yet to get married, and or if you are dating, it is better to know your status so that you can make better informed decisions.”

“You may still know your status that you have AS and your partner has AS and you decide to go on. At least it psyches you to know that this is what you are going to face in the future. It is not easy. Also, we [the Upper East Regional Hospital] hope to get some support to help with some of the treatment for patients,” he said. 

Meanwhile, a paediatrician at the Upper East Regional Hospital, Dr. Bertha Gibil has appealed to the government to include in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), portions of the treatment and management of sickle cell disease. 

Additionally, Dr. Gibil is asking for support for the Sickle Cell Clinic that has been established at the Upper East Regional Hospital. The Clinic, according to the paediatrician, meets on the first Thursday of every month. 

It serves as a learning and sharing platform for persons with sickle cell and parents of children with sickle cell.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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