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By Mercy Ndirangu
A petition on enactment of legislation on prevention, control, and management of sickle cell Anaemia in Kenya was presented to the health committee on Thursday 16th, 2017. The petition that was presented by Hon. Dr. Mwaura M. Isaac on behalf of persons living with sickle cell anemia.
The petition brought attention that sickle cell anemia is a fatal condition that claims lives of infants below the age of five years, yet most neglected none- a communicable disease in Kenya. It also brought the attention that the government has given little attention to prevention, control, and management of sickle cell anemia.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic disease with acute, painful exacerbations that often results in a shortened life expectancy. People with SCD have abnormal hemoglobin, called hemoglobin S or sickle hemoglobin, in their red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. The diseases are passed by genes from parents to their children. SCD is not contagious. A person cannot catch it, like a cold or infection, from someone else. People who have SCD inherit two abnormal hemoglobin genes, one from each parent. In all forms of SCD, at least one of the two abnormal genes causes a person’s body to make hemoglobin S.
To treat Sickle cell one needs to do a bone marrow transplant. This is extremely expensive and people living with the disease cannot be able to afford it. Doctors treat most complications of sickle cell anemia as they occur. Treatment might include antibiotics, vitamins, blood transfusions, pain-relieving medicines, other medications and possibly surgery, such as to correct vision problems or to remove a damaged spleen.
Speaking to the departmental Committee, Hon. Dr. Mwaura M. Isaac lobbied for a national policy that can effectively manage sickle cell anemia, including intergrading sickle cell control programs in the national programs for prevention and control of the disease, early detection, and treatments of the disease, community sensitization, data collection, surveillance and research on the disease.
“We want to thank Hon. Mwaura for always fighting for rights of the marginalized group. We hope that the government would listen and act. The drugs we use daily include penicillin, hydroxyurea’s, folic acid and palustrine. These medicines are extremely expensive; they cost approximately KSH 20,000 per month. Keeping in mind most of the people living with Sickle cells don’t have jobs because they are termed as lazy, It becomes a challenge live with the disease.” Said Lea Kilenga Masamo, a person living with Sickle cell.

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