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Story Highlights

  • Research done by the Sickle Cell Unit shows a downward trend in mortality by 10 years of age in children diagnosed with sickle cell disease at the time of birth.
  • Dr. Ferguson was speaking at the launch of World Sickle Cell Day which is being commemorated under the theme “Screening babies for sickle cell disease: Saving New Lives” on Friday, June 19, 2015.
  • The Health Minister in supporting his statement also made reference to the introduction of the High Performance Liquid Chromatography.

“There will be a brighter future and hope for those born with sickle cell disease,”  stated Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson in making reference to research done by the Sickle Cell Unit showing a downward trend in mortality by 10 years of age in children diagnosed with sickle cell disease at the time of birth. Dr. Ferguson was speaking at the launch of World Sickle Cell Day which is being commemorated under the theme “Screening babies for sickle cell disease: Saving New Lives” on Friday, June 19, 2015.

 

The Health Minister in supporting his statement also made reference to the introduction of the High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machine which was purchased through a tripartite agreement with Brazil, PAHO and Jamaica that aims to strengthen the sickle cell disease programme in Jamaica and Brazil. “I…find it remarkable that 4253 blood samples were already processed at the end of April, with the initiation of use being at the start of the year.” The HPLC machine facilitates screening at birth which allows for early detection of the sickle cell trait.

 

The newly developed clinical care guidelines which was also launched on Friday; the capacity building planned for health care workers in newborn care through the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child mortality ( PROMAC) and the study- tour in Brazil that will afford Jamaican health personnel the opportunity to observe and participate in the management of sickle cell disease were examples given by the Minister of Health to explain that “ we are able…to not only celebrate the gains that have so far been made in the management of sickle cell disease but….we are strategically poised to see increased momentum in this area.”

 

The launch which took place at the Faculty of Law theatre on the University of West Indies campus in Mona, was attended by representatives of groups who have played an integral role in advancing diagnosis and treatment of Sickle Cell Disease such as the Sickle Cell Unit, Sickle Cell Trust, Sickle Cell Support Foundation, National Health Fund and the Ministry of Health. Persons living with Sickle Cell Disease, their family and supporters were also present.