Today is World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. In 2008, the United Nations recognized sickle cell anemia as a global public health problem. The ongoing efforts to fight the disease remain important.
The United Nations passed a resolution that addressed sickle cell in a number of ways, including:
Recognizing that sickle-cell anaemia is one of the world’s foremost genetic diseases, that it has severe physical, psychological and social consequences for those affected and their families, and that in its homozygote form it is one of the most lethal genetic diseases,
Aware of the need for greater international cooperation, including through partnerships, to facilitate access to education, management, surveillance and treatment for sickle-cell anaemia,
Recognizing that proper management of sickle-cell anaemia will contribute to an appreciable decrease in mortality from malaria and in the risk of HIV infection
Since then, the body has been working with the World Health Organization to fight sickle cell. WHO has made a commitment to:
- Recognize that sickle cell disease is a major health issue.
- Increase awareness of the world community regarding sickle cell disease.
- Eliminate harmful and wrong prejudices associated with sickle cell disease.
- Urge member countries where sickle cell disease is a public health problem to establish health programs at the national level and operate specialized centers for sickle cell disease and facilitate access to treatment.
- Promote satisfactory access to medical services to people affected with sickle cell disease.
- Provide technical support to all countries to prevent and manage sickle cell disease.
- Promote and help research to improve the lives of people affected with sickle cell disease.
This week, we’re going to explore the various facets of this condition: what it does, what it means, and how doctors are treating it, and what the future holds for that.