The World Health Organisation donates a vehicle to SICCA

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated a vehicle to the Sickle Cell Condition Advocates (SICCA), to facilitate the work of the group.

Professor Francis Chiska Kasolo, the Country Representative for WHO Ghana, presented the vehicle to SICCA on behalf of the Organisaion.

He said the WHO deemed it fit to empower SICCA to facilitate their advocacy, which was geared towards sickle cell prevention, as part of the organisation’s mandate to lead and champion global efforts to achieve better health for all.

Madam Charlotte Owusu, the founder of SICCA, said the non-governmental organisation used advocacy to drum home the need to prevent the sickle cell disease and enhance its management in Ghana and beyond.

Madam Owusu acknowledged the WHO for its collaboration with SICCA since its establishment in September 2007, and jointly undertaking several activities to prevent sickle cell disease through education and counselling.

Further, both institutions had worked on ensuring the effective management of the con
dition and eradicating it in the long term through preventive measures such as pre-conception screening.

She said the vehicle had come at a time when SICCA was in dire need of a means of transport to help in expanding its advocacy drive throughout the regions of Ghana.

Madam Owusu explained that sickle cell disease resulted from a defective production of haemoglobin, a substance in the red blood cells that gave blood its colour and carried oxygen around the body.

‘In people with sickle cell conditions, the abnormal haemoglobin changes the round cell to a sickle or half-moon shape when it gives up its oxygen, and this causes blockage of blood flow (often they resemble a farm tool called a sickle, hence the name sickle cell),’ she said.

Madam Owusu added that this leads to a variety of complications, such as chronic anaemia, severe episodes of pain in the bone, joint, chest, and an abdominal pain of a biting nature (crises), jaundice, stroke, repeated infections, chronic leg ulcers, and organ damage.

She s
aid people with sickle cell conditions were treated with pain relief medications and medicines to prevent or fight infections, adding that they were sometimes given blood transfusions or operated upon when it became necessary.

The founder of SICCA noted that the advocacy group sought to create public awareness of sickle cell disease in schools, communities, and in the media, advocating for a stronger health system to help with the prevention of the condition.

She said that there was the need for great investment, stronger collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders to help stem the tide of rising cases of sickle cell disease in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

Madam Owusu said most African countries did not have the necessary resources to provide comprehensive care for people with the disease, despite the availability of proven cost-effective interventions through preventing early diagnosis and management of the condition, beyond its public health impact.

‘Sickle cell disease also poses numerous economi
c and social costs for those affected and their families and can interfere with many aspects of the lives of sufferers in areas including education, mental health, social well-being, and development,’ she said.

She emphasised that couples must check their genotype to know their compatibility before they marry, to avoid the risk of having children with sickle cell disorder, as that was the only way the disease could be prevented.

Source: Ghana News Agency