At least 360 new cases of sickle cell disease were recorded last year in Kakamega County, a health report has revealed.
Area Governor’s Spouse Janet Barasa said 361 patients were diagnosed with the disease within the 12 sub-counties in the region.
Mrs. Barasa said Matungu Sub County recorded the highest number due to lack of proper screening and the unavailability of essential drugs.
While speaking in Marama Central Ward, Butere Sub County, she pointed out that sickle cell disease, a complex disease characterised by abnormally shaped blood red cells, affected countless lives.
“Proper medical care and access to necessary medications are paramount in managing the symptoms and complications of sickle cell disease,” she said.
In addressing these challenges, Janet said there was a need for concerted efforts by healthcare providers, government agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive strategy to tackle the issues of screening and drug availability.
She added that health education and awareness campaigns should also be intensified to dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding sickle cell disease.
“By fostering a culture of understanding, the stigma associated with the condition could be eliminated and an environment of empathy and support created,” she said.
She urged the Department of Health to prioritise sickle cell disease prevention and treatment interventions and develop research surveillance.
“The health department should ensure the availability of medications required by the warriors, intensify health promotion, education, and awareness campaigns, and develop a bill to subsidise the cost of medication,” said Janet.
She said the County Government will be dedicated to the cause and be part of the movement to comprehensively advocate to address the numerous challenges sickle cell warriors face while seeking health care services.
By John Ochanda