Sickle cell coordinators to monitor paediatric patientsWednesday, June 16, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Health and Wellness will be placing sickle cell coordinators at public health facilities across the island to provide support for paediatric patients.
National Coordinator for the Sickle Cell Programme at the ministry, Dr Carol Lord, stated that the coordinators have been identified and they will be working with babies and children who have been diagnosed with the disease.
She noted that the coordinators will have responsibility for monitoring the patients when they leave the hospital, through telephone calls or working with the community health aides (CHA).
Monitoring includes ensuring that the patients are taking their medication and accessing regular healthcare.
Lord noted that people with sickle cell disease should register with the National Health Fund (NHF) to access medication at reduced costs and added that the entity plans to include additional drugs to treat the various complications associated with the illness.
As part of the observance of Sickle Cell Week (June 13-19) the ministry will be staging a 'Sickle Cell Conversation' today under the theme 'Tackling the Pain and Winning'.
Panellists include State Minister, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn; Dr Lord; Co-founder of the Sickle Cell Support Club of Jamaica, Morette Wright; Professor/Director Sickle Cell Unit, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, The University of the West Indies, Professor Jennifer Knight Madden; and Medical Epidemiologist in the Non-Communicable Disease and Injury Prevention Unit, Ministry of Health, Dr Julia Rowe Porter.
The event will run from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm and streamed live on the Ministry's social media platforms.
Among the areas for discussion are the pain of diagnosis, accessing care, acute crises, stigmatisation, and mental health issues.
On Saturday, which is World Sickle Cell Day, a documentary will be aired on the ministry's social media platforms, starting at 6:30 pm. It will feature patients sharing their experience, including coping with the disease and accessing care.
Dr Lord, who is also programme development officer and public health specialist in the ministry's Family Health Unit, called on employees and school administrators to support sickle cell patients as much as possible “because sometimes they may have to stay away from work and school, because of their illness”.
Also during the week, the ministry, in collaboration with the Sickle Cell Support Foundation of Jamaica, will be posting several messages on sickle cell on social media platforms.
Sickle cell disease or sickle cell anaemia is a recessive genetic blood disorder, which comes as a result of inheriting abnormal haemoglobin genes from both parents. It is characterised by the red blood cells assuming an abnormal, rigid, sickle shape.
Sickling decreases the flexibility of cells, blocking blood flow in the blood vessels in the limbs and organs, which can cause pain, serious infections, and organ damage.
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