Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is the most common genetic disorder of haemoglobin in sub-Saharan Africa. This commentary focuses on the management options available and the challenges that health care professionals in developing countries face in caring for patients with SCD.
In developing countries like Ghana, newborn screening is now being implemented on a national scale. Common and important morbidities associated with SCD are vaso-occlusive episodes, infections, Acute Chest Syndrome (ACS), Stroke and hip necrosis. Approaches to the management of these morbidities are far advanced in the developed countries. The differences in setting and resource limitations in developing countries bring challenges that have a major influence in management options in developing countries.
Obviously clinicians in developing countries face challenges in managing SCD patients. However understanding the disease, its progression, and instituting the appropriate preventive methods are paramount in its management. Emphasis should be placed on newborn screening, anti-microbial prophylaxis, vaccination against infections, and training of healthcare workers, patients and caregivers. These interventions are affordable in developing countries.