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Sickle Cell Organisation meets Health Minister

Jun 10, 2010, 5:16 PM | Article By: Augustine Kanjia

The Sickle Cell Organisation Gambia Chapter recently met the Minister of Health to introduce themselves and what they stand for, and to let the government know about their work in society.

Andrew Sambou, the president of the Sickle Cell Association, dilated on their contribution in line with helping people know about the association, and to get parents to know that sickle cell is only another sickness, and it should have nothing attached to it like witchcraft.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Aboubakarr Gaye, said sickle cell is not a forgotten problem, just that it is not well known. He therefore applauded the efforts of the Sickle Cell Association in trying to make it known. "Even when it is sickle cell, it is often treated as malaria, which leads to anaemia. There are different forms including the avoidance of dehydration; also use mosquito nets for sickle cell patients," he said.

Dr. Gaye further stressed on the importance of statistics, noting that it would help in the assessment of the sickness. "It could be managed too, especially when those with sickle cell eat vegetables, fruits, grape juice and avoid doing anything exhaustive. Associations and organisations are very important in getting our messages across, and it should be all inclusive," he said.

Dr. Gaye said the Ministry of Health and the Sickle Cell Association have to sign a memorandum of understanding, so that when you organise programmes on GRTS, you can invite parents. He said there should be sensitisation and advocacy by mobilising school-going kids, take them to health centres in-groups of twenty monthly to gauge their status.

"Active brains need good supply of blood, and without that the brain remains dull. Would take the initiative by informing the Minister of Education to include sickle cell screening for school children. It would be in relation with blood donation, so that they also screen blood donors."