CREATING PARTNERSHIPS: Health ministry PS Dr. Diana Atwine

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga will be the chief guest at this year’s commemoration of World Sickle Cell day on June 19 in Kamuli at the district headquarters.

Health ministry sources said the venue was chosen basing on the recent national sickle cell survey conducted in 2014, which found that Kamuli is one of the districts in Busoga region that is greatly affected by sickle cell disease.

This year’s theme for the day is ‘break the silence’ and according to the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine, her ministry has partnered with a number of cultural, religious and communal institutions like Buganda Kingdom and the Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation, to create awareness and educate the public about the disease.

She disclosed that over 20 sickle cell clinics have been set up in the 20 high burden districts and appealed to the public to go for pre-marital screening before marriage, take babies for sickle cell testing to explore their status for maximum care.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder affecting the red blood cells and making them unable to efficiently carry oxygen around the body cells. The abnormality is inherited from both parents, if both carry the abnormal genes as carriers.

It is estimated that every year, 25,000 babies are born with sickle cell anemia disease in Uganda with 80 per cent dying before their fifth birthday.