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International sickle cell symposium gets underway

By Jacquiline Emodek

Added 25th May 2016 03:52 PM

Fifteen countries are represented at the symposium

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Sarah Opendi the State Minister of Health flanked by Jean Paul Gonzalez, the vice president of the Sickle Cell Disease Research Network in Central Africa addresses a press Conference after the opening of the Symposium at Hotel Africana. Photo by Roderick Ahimbazwe

Fifteen countries are represented at the symposium

This year, Uganda is hosting the sixth international symposium on sickle cell disease in Central Africa.

The conference which is the largest that has been organised on the continent, seeks to address the sickle cell disease burden in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It will run from 25th to 27th May under the themes; accessible treatments, new technologies and innovations and break the silence.

Charles Kiyaga the chairman of the sickle cell disease Research Network in Central Africa (REDAC) 2016 Uganda steering committee said that in preparation for the conference the Director General on Heath duties, Ruth Jane Achieng appointed a team of 30 members.

The team has been sitting every week since November last year to ensure the success of the conference. 

Meanwhile Kiyaga also disseminated findings of the screening that was started in April last year in seven districts. These are; Gulu, Lira, Kitgum, Oyam, Dokolo, Jinja and Kampala.

"We have screened 50,000 babies in the past 5 months," he said.

However Kiyaga noted that ignorance is still a big problem in addressing the problem and so sensitization has to continue.

"When we were doing screening in the districts, it was a pity that most of the parents did not know that their children were sick," Sarah Opendi the state minister for Health added.

ebecca adaga  peaker of arliament pendi  and r suman ukwago the ermanent ecretary in the inister of ealth after officiating at the opening of the 6th ickle ell ymposium hoto by oderick himbazwe Rebecca Kadaga (L) Speaker of Parliament, Opendi (C) and Dr. Asuman Lukwago the Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Health after officiating at the opening of the 6th Sickle Cell Symposium. Photo by Roderick Ahimbazwe


Opendi went on to say that the disease has been neglected in most countries including Uganda.

"We cannot continue talking about lack of resources, resources are there if we prioritize, " she said. 

Kiyaga hopes that the conference will also attract support for the declaration for sickle cell in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"Currently there is a declaration on non-communicable diseases but we need one on sickle cell as well," he stated.

Fifteen countries are represented at the symposium.

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