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Paediatrician at Upper East Regional Hospital cautions against stigmatisation of persons living with sickle cell disease

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A paediatrician at the Upper East Regional Hospital, Dr. Bertha Gibil has cautioned against the stigmatisation of persons living with sickle cell disease. Dr. Gibil explained that people living with the sickle cell disease already live under huge financial and psychological stress and should not have to deal with stigmatisation from society. 

She explained that because of stigmatisation, adult sickle cell patients often suffer in silence and are not able to receive the best treatment they need. 

“For the public, we need to be more supportive and not stigmatise persons living with the disease. Very often, you would not see adult [sickle cell] clinics. They would not identify themselves because of the stigma that is attached to the disease. People look at you and continue to think that you are a sick person but this is just like having hypertension or diabetes. It is a chronic condition. You were born with it and you can’t undo it. You just have to learn and understand and know what it is like.”

“We have seen sickle cell patients who are living long and it depends on how you handle yourself,” she said.

The paediatrician spoke to Mark Smith on the Day Break Upper East Show in commemoration of the World Sickle Cell Awareness Day.

World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is observed annually on June 19th to raise awareness about sickle cell disease (SCD) and the challenges faced by individuals living with this genetic disorder. SCD affects millions of people worldwide, particularly those of African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent. This day serves as an opportunity to educate the public, promote early diagnosis and treatment, and advocate for better support and resources for individuals and families affected by SCD.

On World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, various organisations, healthcare professionals, and individuals come together to organise events, seminars, and campaigns to spread knowledge about SCD. The aim is to dispel misconceptions, promote genetic counselling, and highlight the importance of early detection through newborn screening programs. It is also a day to recognize the strength and resilience of individuals living with SCD and to support ongoing research efforts for improved treatments and ultimately a cure. By raising awareness and fostering a sense of community, World Sickle Cell Awareness Day plays a crucial role in improving the lives of those affected by this challenging condition.

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

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