Sickle Cell disease also known as Sickle cell anemia and drepanocytosis, is a hereditary blood related disorder, characterized by an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying haemoglobin molecule in red blood cells. From our basic secondary school biology we were taught that when someone with the blood group AS gets married to another AS there is a 1:4 probability they would give birth to an offspring with AA, 2:4 probability of off springs with AS and 1:4 probability of bearing an offspring with SS.
Genetically it is explained that sthis condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, meaning that both copies of the gene in each cell in the human body have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene (ie Father is AS and Mother is AS) but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease usually begin in early childhood. Characteristic features of this disorder include a low number of red blood cells (anemia), repeated infections, and periodic episodes of pain. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person, some people have mild symptoms while others are frequently hospitalized for more serious complications.
Statistically almost 300,000 children are born with a form of sickle-cell disease every year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in other parts of the world such as the West Indies and in people of African origin elsewhere in the world. In 2013 it resulted in 176,000 deaths up from 113,000 deaths in 1990 and this is disheartening.
The pain that this people go through, the struggle to survive. The fear that a parent has for a child not knowing if tomorrow is going to be normal or filled with crisis. Today is world sickle cell day, today we celebrate those who have survived, and today we mourn those who we have lost to this genetic disorder.
Join me, Desmond Elliot, Fola David, the Miss Unilag Royals, Funke Akindele, Ibrahim Salawu, Yinka Davies and a host of others as we walk for sickle cell at the Red Umbrella Walk tomorrow 20th of June. The walk starts from Kernel Park at Surulere by 8am, come and walk for a worthy cause.