Brief SCD Epidemiology in Zambia.

The prevalence/incidence of sickle cell disease in Zambia is not known and therefore the burden of this disease remains unknown. If, however, it is postulated that the prevalence of the sickle cell trait is 18 percent as Barclay had found in Kitwe and that there are 246 patients with sickle cell anaemia in a population of 60,000 then Zambia with a population 0f 13 000 000 would have 63 300 cases of sickle cell anaemia scattered around the country. Lack of studies in this very important condition has resulted in the unrecognized health priority of this disease in the past.  At the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka in 2017, the haematology clinic has on its records over six thousand (6000) patients currently registered with the clinic.

Sickle Cell Disease in Zambia has been neglected even though it affects a significant proportion of the population. According to Kings Health Partners .Org (2021), “In Zambia, sickle cell disease has been recognised as a public health problem by the Zambian Ministry of Health, with the sickle cell trait carried by 20-25% of the population and 1-2% of babies born with the disease. Recent data shows that across the University Teaching Hospitals’ (UTH) and Arthur Davison Children’s (ADH) haematology clinics, there are more than 16,000 active sickle cell patients on record. the majority of whom are children below the age of 15 years. SCD  adds to this burden, accounting for more than 10% of the total admissions to the Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital” while SCD is the leading cause of admission at Children’s Hospital- UTH

These  numbers in these 2 hospitals in 2 different cities would indicate that sickle cell disease is a very serious health condition country wide which needs urgent attention. The majority of these are children below the age of fifteen (15) years.  A large percentage of these patients are undiagnosed and therefore do not get appropriate management if at all available. 

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