Sickle cell disease is a national problem that has covered all parts of the country. The number of people with the trait in Uganda is high and that’s the reason why we have many babies born with the disease. In some high burden districts, 1 out of 4 has the trait whereas country wide, 1 out of 7 has a trait. The challenge has been in lack of diagnostic materials to screen for the disease or trait. But now, Ministry of Health, through The Uganda National Health Laboratory Services has a fully capable Sickle cell laboratory and also a program running in health facilities called the New Born Screening program. This is where all babies born will be screened for the sickle cell gene/trait. It also takes in all children below the age of 2 years. This service is free of charge. It's is aimed at detecting the disease at an early stage so that interventions are started early to reduce the mortality rate. It will also show how many children are born with the sickle cell trait in Uganda.
The Uganda National Sickle Cell Laboratory, Demonstrates efficiency (~2000 samples per week) and high accuracy (trait and disease >99% accuracy), Recently doubled capacity in equipment, space and additional personnel, Tests samples desginated for sickle cell testing, from high-burden disrticts and (+) HIV positive, Conducts outreach screening events, New equipment and training in DNA-based confirmation for Sickle Cell by polymerase chainreaction (PCR)
Sickle Cell Newborn Screening; The sceening begins 12-14 highest, burdens districts, mid Northern and East Central regions, maternity wards for in-hospitals births, health care facilities, immunization clinics, Screening must be done to all newborns within the hub, collection should occur before 2-3 months of age, children under 2 years
In order to enable traning at different hub/stations like at Regional Referral Hospitals we; We allocate 1 full day of training per site, Co-ordinate through sample transport hub system, Invite (Physicians, Laboratory Technicians, Sample transport co-ordinators), Comprehensive sickle cell curriculum, Establishment of a local sickle cell clinic