Sickle cell disease: CESRTA trains health workers on newborn screening | Dailytrust

Sickle cell disease: CESRTA trains health workers on newborn screening

The Centre of Excellence for Sickle Cell Disease Research and Training (CESRTA), University of Abuja, has trained health workers on newborn screening for sickle cell disease.

The health workers were drawn from Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) participating in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). They comprised nurses, Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) and laboratory scientists.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that affects a person’s red blood cells and is passed on from parents.

The disorder causes normal round and flexible blood cells to become stiff and sickle-shaped, which in turn stops the blood cells and the oxygen they carry from moving freely around the body.

Speaking during the training yesterday in Abuja, Director of CESRTA, Prof Obiageli Nnodu, said the health workers were trained on how to collect dry blood spots for tests, genetic counselling and basic treatment at the primary healthcare level, among others.

She said in 2020 the organisation launched sites in the FCT to screen babies for sickle cell disease.

She further said so far 5,810 babies had been screened in 20 PHCs across the FCT, out of which 55 babies tested positive to the disease.

Prof Nnodu said despite sensitisation and efforts, some mothers were yet to bring their newborns for screening, or get them enrolled for treatment when found positive, adding that the workshop was aimed at addressing the challenges.

She said an estimated 150,000 babies in Nigeria were born with Sickle cell disease annually and would die early if they were not followed up with appropriate care.

A participant, Ladi Ladan, who is in charge of Tunga Maje PHC in Gwagwalada Area Council, one of the sites for the sickle cell disorder screening programme, said it had helped enlighten mothers on the importance of screening their newborns from six weeks to enable them start treatment early.

She said 30 children were screened per week and that four positive cases had been recorded since this year.

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