SICCA holds maiden conference on prevention of sickle cell disease

By Kristodia Otibu Asiedu / Zainab Abdul-Hamid

Accra, June 20, GNA – The Sickle Cell Condition Advocates (SICCA), a non-governmental organisation, has held its maiden conference on preventing sickle cell disease.

The event brought together healthcare professionals, students, patients, faith groups, and families affected by Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) to discuss the disease’s prevention, management, and treatment options.

The conference on the theme: “United for Health: Empowering Knowledge and Action Against Sickle Cell Disease,” focused on the importance of early detection, genetic testing, and lifestyle modifications to prevent complications.

Captain Catherine Haizel, a board member of SICCA, emphasised the importance of genetic testing and the need for families to prioritise their health.

Captain Haizel stressed the importance of public education campaigns and community outreach programmes in raising awareness and promoting prevention.

He called for increased funding for research, improved access to healthcare, and comprehensive support systems for affected families, urging policymakers, healthcare providers, and advocates to continue their efforts in the fight against sickle cell disease.

Madam Charlotte Owusu, the Chief Executive Officer of SICCA, stated that it was important for individuals to know their sickle cell status to prevent the birth of children with the disease.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Madam Owusu shared her personal experience of losing a child with sickle cell disease, highlighting the need for awareness and testing.

She stated that SICCA organised regular health sensitization and screening weeks throughout the year to educate the public and encourage individuals to get tested.

She added that many people were unaware of their sickle cell status, which can lead to unintentionally passing the disease on to their children.

The SICCA CEO urged everyone to spread the word about the importance of sickle cell testing, particularly for young people planning to get married and start a family.

She said sickle cell carriers were often healthy and may not even be prone to malaria, but could still pass the disease on to their children.

She emphasised that knowing one’s status could help prevent the suffering and loss of young lives.

She added that SICCA aimed to educate the public and encourage individuals to take responsibility for their health and well-being, stating that by getting tested and knowing their sickle cell status, individuals could make informed decisions about their health and family planning, ultimately reducing the incidence of sickle cell disease and its devastating effects.