A total of 50 families affected by sickle cell have received Life Health mobile phones from Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation (USCRF), in partnership with CTI Africa and the ministry of Health.
While handing over the phones at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Tracy Nagawa, Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation executive director, said a total of Shs 50 million has been invested to enrol the first batch of sickle cell warriors into the Life health Network.
“Fifty families have been given Life health mobile phones loaded with CTI Life health applications that will in turn improve access to medical doctors, treatment and the general wellbeing of individuals affected by sickle cell disease”, she said.
Nagawa explained that; in Uganda, 20,000 babies are born each year with the genetic defect and 20 percent of the Ugandan population has the genetic trait of sickle cell disease.
“People with sickle cell disease often suffer from many complications, such as anaemia, life threatening bacterial infections, severe physical pain, strokes and general organ failure. Symptoms vary from person to person”, she added.
Dr Charles Kiyaga, the sickle cell coordinator in the ministry of Health, said the government is to construct sickle cell clinics in all regions of Uganda to treat the disease in its infant stages.
“Government is in the process of putting much effort into fighting sickle cell. We want to create six sickle cell clinics countrywide by next year”, he said.
He called upon partners in the fight against sickle cell to support Mulago Hospital Sickle Cell department.
Ruth Nankanja Mukiibi who has lived with sickle cells for 38 years said testing for sickle cells is as important as an HIV test.
“Before I got married, I tested for sickle cells with my husband and the results proved that he was AA and I was a sickler. This helped us make informed decisions through our marriage and family,” she said.