Cayman recognises World Sickle Cell Day

| 20/06/2016

World Sickle Cell Day(CNS): The Cayman Islands once again joined the United Nations observance of World Sickle Cell Day on 19 June, established in 2009 to help raise awareness of the disease as a public health concern. While screening for sickle cell disease has been in place since the early 1970s for high-risk families, and since the 1980s for school entry screening, routine newborn screening began in 1997. This has helped in early identification of sickle cell trait and disease and the associated appropriate counselling and management.

“It is important to test for sickle cell trait as this information can help parents make informed reproductive choices,” said Joy Merren, genetics coordinator at the Health Services Authority.

“If someone has sickle cell trait, it is important to know if one’s partner is also a carrier. If both parents are sickle cell carriers, then with each pregnancy, there is a 25% risk of having a child with sickle cell disease. While sickle cell trait is mild, sickle cell disease is serious.”

The Public Health Department is aware of 47 people with sickle cell disease, which is a chronic disorder. The Cayman Islands has facilities to diagnose and manage the disease.

A sickle cell support group, which meets four times a year in the Public Health waiting room, enables patients and families to receive information on management of the disorder as well as support.

For further information, contact Joy Merren on 244-2630


Category: Medical and Health

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