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Kenyan sickle cell anemia patients can access subsidised medical treatment at Strathmore medical centre

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The Kenyan Sickle Cell Anemia foundation has partnered with the Strathmore medical centre to provide subsidised medical treatment to its patients affected with the condition.

“We want to lighten the load of those with by the condition,” said Ms Selina Oluanda Ogweno the chairperson of the foundation. “By partnering with Strathmore Medical Centre, we are making medical attention easily accessible for them. “

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The foundation was started in 2001 by Dr Casey Wafula. “The main aim of starting the foundation was to bring together those affected by the condition, offer support, learn from each other on how to manage the condition and share experiences. It is also meant to provide information to people about the condition.”

Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic disorder that causes abnormality in the blood gene- the red blood cells. “Red blood cells are round but in people with the condition, they are shaped like sickles. Also their red cells live a shorter period compared to those without the condition. ” said Ms Oluanda.

The red cells of a person with sickle cell anemia live for 20 days whereas those without live for 120 days. The body of a sickle cell anemia patient is always making new ones to replace the old ones. It will not be able to produce them as fast so their red blood cells count will be lower than normal.

“It is hereditary condition thus it affects those whose parents are both carriers,” she said. “Symptoms include paleness, regular anemia, yellow eyes (the sclera is yellow instead of white) and one is prone to infection. For children, the most common symptom is swelling of hands and feet, they also experience pain that cannot be explained and delayed growth.”

The condition is not curable but there is treatment for; infections, relieving pain, to trigger the formation of hemoglobin and supplements for growth and development.

“Sickle cell anemia, affects the growth and development of children,” said Ms Oluanda. “The supplements can help in growth and development.”

On nutrition, people with the condition are supposed to eat a balanced diet and drink a lot of water. “Water helps in the flow and viscosity of blood. If they are dehydrated, the blood becomes thick and sticky thus blocking the flow of blood in the body. They should also visit the hospital regularly for checkups.”

Other than Strathmore Medical Centre, the foundation has also partnered with Baraka hospital in Mathare, Nairobi.

To get in touch with them call: 0724 443 118 or 0724 201 946

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