The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Sickle Cell Federation of Kenya (SFK) with support from Novartis has today launched the first-ever the Sickle Cell Disease Guidelines aimed at standardizing standardize the kind of healthcare given to Persons Living with Sickle cell disease (PLWSCD).
Launched at a Nairobi Hotel, Dr. Andrew Mulwa, the A.G. Director – Directorate of Medical Services- Preventive and Promotive Health said the guidelines mark a new dawn in care as management for sickle cell has been erratic with no uniformity but rather depending on individual assessment of health workers across the country.
The newly launched clinical guidelines will ensure the standardization of care offered to Persons Living with Sickle cell disease at all health care levels and at the same time curb inappropriate practice.
“I urge all stakeholders to embrace these guidelines to ensure that we reduce the mortality rate. The Ministry of Health will continue working with partners in ensuring provision of medicines and diagnostic solutions on sustaining lives of the Persons Living with Sickle Cell Disease (PLWSCD).”
Commending the Ministry on this milestone, Dr. Fredrick Okinyi, the Chair, Sickle Cell Federation of Kenya termed the launch of the document as an achievement and a step in the right direction as they await more interventions from the Ministry of Health in as far as the improvement of health care for sickle cell patients in Kenya is concerned.
“We are also asking government to include medicines used for the management of Sickle cell such as drug hydroxyurea on list of essential medicines under the NHIF cover.” Added Dr. Okinyi.
Currently, this drug can only be accessed by those that are able to pay as each pill goes for about Shs. 50 some patients depending on their level of crisis requires up to three drugs each day.
Each year in Africa,240,000 children are born with Sickle Cell and of this 6000 are in Kenya. Children with sickle cell diseases are ten times more likely to die than those not living with sickle cell disease
On his part, Anthony Mwangi, Cluster Head Novartis, East Africa said, “Novartis is committed towards increasing patient access and improving the lives of patients and such initiatives play a key role in bringing to light the interventions needed to control and manage Sickle Cell disease but not only putting emphasis on early diagnosis but also looking at countrywide access to affordable medicines.
In addition to the guidelines, Novartis is partnering with the Ministry in awareness creation to promote early diagnosis through screening interventions.
Besides dissemination of the national sickle cell guidelines, the government has future of opening satellite sickle cell clinics in hospitals and health centers across the country.
Other partners who played a key role in developing the guidelines included, Non-communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya (NCDAK), The Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), Kenya Haemophilia Association (KHA) and Kenya Paediatric Research Consortium (KEPRECON)
About sickle cell disease
SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome, organ failure and stroke.
About Sickle Cell Federation of Kenya
Sickle Cell Federation of Kenya is a registered Organization that seeks to achieve the highest standard of health care for people living with sickle cell disease in Kenya. The federation partners with institutions or individuals working with people living with sickle cell disease, caregivers, medical practitioners (Doctors, Nurses, Clinical officers, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Blood Transfusion Specialists, Laboratory technologists among many more who are duly registered and are eligible for membership of the Federation.
For more information visit www.sicklecellfederationkenya.org