Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a serious condition that affects people all over the world; the complications that arise from it are usually fatal. Sickle cell disease is a set of red blood cell disorders that are mostly inherited. In sickle cell disease the red blood cells become tough and sticky and resemble ‘sickles.’ The infected cells perish early which leads to a constant depletion of red blood cells in the blood. Further as the blood moves through blood vessels, these infected cells get stuck to the walls and obstruct the blood flow which leads to more complications. With good medical care people with sickle cell disease can live into adulthood but with a decreased life expectancy.
sickle cell disease is common among the African, Asian nations and amongst people who do not have access to proper medical supervision and care. In the United States mainly the African-Americans are affected, with every one in 500 African-American child being affected with the disease. In Africa nearly 2% of newborns are affected with sickle cell disease. In the United Kingdom more than 200 newborns are infected with sickle cell disease. In the Middle East more than 6000 babies are born annually with sickle cell disease.
In the year 2008, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution which determines sickle cell disease as a public health problem and one of the world’s foremost genetic disease, requiring heightened awareness and activism, diagnosis and management. The result of the resolution was that June 19th was declared as World Sickle Cell to increase awareness of the condition all over the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has started work on a war footing to promote a world wide agenda to address hemoglobin dysfunctions.
WHO has made a commitment to:
The World Sickle Cell day is celebrated across the globe with special emphasis in African Nations and Asia. The celebrations include a press, media campaigns, music shows, cultural activities, and talk shows.
Since no known cure exists for sickle cell disease, the main goal is to prevent further complications due to sickle cell disease. The main emphasis is hence on educating medical professionals, care givers, and associated personnel about prevention, research, and resources to minimize the complications due to sickle cell disease. Hence June 19th is devoted mainly to spread awareness, through talks, seminars, pamphlets, literature and consultations.