The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine has named Sickle Cell as the leading cause of child mortality in Uganda after Malaria and HIV.
Dr Atwine said 80 percent of children with sickle cell die before the age of 5 yet it’s preventable through making regular checkups and getting the right medication.
Sickle cell is a blood disorder caused by inherited abnormal hemoglobin which causes distorted red blood cells. The sickled red blood cells are fragile and prone to rupture.
“It’s absurd that very many children are sick and their parents don’t even know. Most of them think their children have been bewitched and by the time they realize it it’s already too late and the child is dying,” she said.
While addressing the media at the Ministry of health today, Dr Atwine urged young people to go and test before getting married to avoid producing children that are sickle celled or carriers.
“I know most lovers when love has swept them off their feet they tend not to take such matters important and end up ignoring them, but this is what we want to prevent.”
Currently all major hospitals in the country can test sickle cells.
According to the 2016 Sickle Cell Survey by the Ministry of health, Northern Uganda tops with the highest prevalence and south western Uganda with the lowest prevalence.
The commonest sickle cell are sickle cell anemia, sickle cell diseases and sickle beta thalassemia.