Kenya establishes team to tackle sickle cell disease-Xinhua

Kenya establishes team to tackle sickle cell disease

Source: Xinhua| 2022-06-17 23:56:28|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Ministry of Health said Friday that it has established a multisectoral team to help with the management of sickle cell disease.

Rashid Aman, the chief administrative secretary of the Ministry of Health, said that the team will help in reducing the new cases since approximately 14,000 children are born with the disease annually.

"We expect the team to spearhead advocacy, screening, diagnosis, surveillance and research in addressing the disease that has become a big burden in the country," Aman said during the commemoration of World Sickle Cell Day in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

Aman said that at least 240,000 children in Africa are born each year with sickle cell disease, noting that with the absence of routine newborn screening and appropriate treatment, an estimated 50 percent to 90 percent of the minors born with the condition die undiagnosed before their 5th birthday.

Sickle cell disease is common across Kenya with a high out-of-pocket spending burden in western and coastal regions, said Aman, who observed that with migration and intermarriages, the condition is being increasingly reported in other regions of the country.

He said that Kenya has developed policy guidelines for infant screening of sickle cell disease that will be launched soon, stressing that the guidelines which will be implemented in phases will ensure that infants are screened and linked to care.

According to Aman, Kenya also plans to tackle the disease through the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which will ensure that populations and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. The UHC includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, ranging from health promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation to palliative care.

Under the UHC commitment, patients with sickle cell disease and other non-communicable diseases that suffer the most in terms of out-of-pocket payments to access care over the lifelong course of the diseases will be covered under health insurance, Aman said.