Bank of Africa Uganda in an effort to support the direct intervention and management of sickle cell has donated a CBC (Complete Blood Count) machine worth Shs37m to the Sickle Cell Association of Uganda.
The machine was handed over during the Sickle Cell National Awareness Day celebrations in held in Kamuli.
Kamuli has been noted as one of the districts to have a sickle cell trait rate of 20% which is even higher than the national rate.
The event was attended by officials from the Ministry of health, Sickle Cell Association of Uganda, locals and other government officials.
Speaking at the event, Bank of Africa Managing Director, Mr. Arthur Isiko commented on the upsetting statistics which reveal that 13.7% of Ugandans have the sickle cell trait and that sadly 80% of babies born with the sickle cell disease die before their fifth birthday.
He noted that key on Bank of Africa’s CSR agenda was Health.
He further explained, “As a company, we aim to directly intervene in the management and or treatment of this disease. We chose Sickle cell because of the silence around it and we felt that there was more we could do for its awareness and management; hence the donation of this machine.”
Commenting on the same, the Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Association, Ms Ruth Nakanja expressed gratitude saying, “We are happy that Bank of Africa for the second year running has come in to support the sicklers in Uganda. With the estimated number of sicklers now at 6, 000, 000 Ugandans, we are taking a step in the right direction in as far as management of the disease through detection of infections is concerned.”
“Effort has in the past been put on awareness and while that continues, we are now advocating for healthier living of sicklers through early detection of infection and proper management of it,” Ms Nakanja explained.
She added that the machine would support the referral clinic in Mulago where millions of sicklers go to receive treatment.
Speaker of parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga called upon the parents of sicklers to put more efforts in maintaining their morale and help them achieve to greater heights. In her words also thanked bank of Africa for supporting the fight against sickle cell in Uganda.
The Minister of Health also noted the high numbers of children with the sickle cell trait saying that it was good to see companied coming up to support the cause of ending sickle cell in the country. She pledged more government efforts to the same cause.
About Sickle Cell Prevalence in Uganda
The Uganda sickle cell surveillance study, carried out on over 90,000 children, revealed that rates of sickle cell disease are lower in HIV positive infants. Of the 112 districts subjected to the study, 14 districts contain 47 per cent of the sickle cell disease;
These districts are: Kampala, Gulu, Lira, Jinja, Tororo, Luweero, Wakiso, Apac, Iganga, Mayuge, Buikwe, Oyam, Masaka and Masindi, and;
Highest rates of sickle cell disease were noted in the North and Central regions of Uganda. Eight of the 112 districts have 20.0% of the sickle cell trait. These districts are: Bundibugyo, Bulisa, Alebtong, Jinja, Tororo, Gulu, Lira and Mayuge.