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Sickle Life, a sickle cell awareness group, in collaboration with Vodafone Ghana Foundation and other partners, have organised a sickle cell status check and blood donation exercise for the public.
The exercise, which was organised in Accra during a celebration of “World Sickle Cell Day”, was to create awareness on sickle cell and the importance of blood in the management of sickle cell diseases.
Dr Sefakor Enam Bankas, Founder of Sickle Life, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that statistics has shown that one in every four Ghanaians have sickle cell traits, which gives them the ability to pass it on to their children.
She said every year two per cent of children born in the country constituting 15,000 have sickle cell diseases.
Dr Enam Bankas said the disease is preventable with education, testing and counselling, hence the purpose for undertaking such a step to reduce a disease that is affecting the lives of children.
She noted that the exercise provided opportunities for the participants to know their sickle cell status and counselling in order to make the right choices in life.
She said provisions were made to test 150 people on their status.
Dr Enam Bankas said the association has a blog and website where people with sickle cell share their experiences with the disease for the public to learn from, whilst practitioners provide education on the causes, effects and management of the disease.
“We also go on outreaches to talk to the people about the disease so that people with negative cultural perception about the disease can be corrected,” she said.
Mr Daniel Kissi Asiedu, a representative of the Vodafone Ghana Foundation told the GNA in an interview that the Foundation supports the initiative because of how alarming sickle cell diseases has become in the country.
“Therefore, in commemorating the 2016 world sickle cell day, we decided to partner Sickle life to organise a screening and blood donation exercise.
“The Foundation is passionate about the health of Ghanaians and that is why we supported this initiative through the Vodafone Employee Volunteerism project,” he said.
Mr Kissi Asiedu said the Foundation has started an initiative to embark on an awareness campaign of adolescents with sickle cell to educate them living with sickle cell, its causes and effects as well as its management.
Dr Anthony Anemana, House Officer of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital with a sickle cell trait urged family and friends of persons with the disease to show love and care to them.
“Through good social and family support, people with sickle cell can make it in life. I was directed in basic school by my parents as a child with sickle cell but started encountering many difficulties when I started managing my own social life in senior high school.
“That was when I started developing a problem with my lower limb that gradually affected my way of movement,” he said.
Other supporting partners of the exercise were the Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics, ROCA, the Southern Area Blood Bank and Sickle Cell Association of Ghana.
Sickle Life is a sickle cell disease awareness group that started operation in 2013 to create awareness on the medical condition by providing education and information on it with the aim of empowering people to make informed decision about it.