Cayman observes World Sickle Cell Day

| 20/06/2017

CNS Local Life(CNS Local Life): The Cayman Islands again joined the United Nations in recognising Monday, 19 June, as World Sickle Cell Day, 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 in the Cayman Islands since the early 1970s for high-risk families, and since the 1980s for school-entry screening, routine newborn screening began in 1997.

Checking newborns has helped with the early identification of sickle cell trait and disease, as well as 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 persons with sickle cell disease, which is a chronic disorder. In the Cayman Islands, there are facilities to diagnose sickle cell disease and to manage it.

Information sheet on sickle cell 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.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, 22 June, at 7:30pm.

For further information, call (244-2630) or email Joy Merren



Category: Medical and Health

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