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The Crisis of Sickle Cell Disease in Africa from Insights into Primary Prevention in Ghana and Nigeria: Notes from the Field

Abstract

Sickle cell disease (SCD), an inherited blood disorder, impacts 2% of newborns in Nigeria and Ghana. Despite devastating health consequences, SCD prevention is not a priority in either country. This article describes our U.S. research team’s feasibility assessment for adapting CHOICES, a computer-based SCD education program, for use in Ghana and Nigeria. We identified indigenous collaborators by reviewing published research and investigating advocacy organizations online. This led to a fact-finding trip to Africa to discuss SCD prevention with local boards of advisors. Three major recommendations emerged from the group discussions: design a culturally appropriate intervention; enlist community healthcare workers to deliver the CHOICES program; and collaborate with religious and community leaders and elders in public awareness campaigns. Based on extensive advisor input, we will modify the content and delivery of the CHOICES intervention to meet the needs of those impacted by SCD in Ghana and Nigeria.

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Correspondence to Miriam O. Ezenwa.

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Ezenwa, M.O., Dennis-Antwi, J.A., Dallas, C.M. et al. The Crisis of Sickle Cell Disease in Africa from Insights into Primary Prevention in Ghana and Nigeria: Notes from the Field. J Immigrant Minority Health 23, 871–878 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-021-01186-8

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Keywords

  • Sickle cell disease
  • Primary prevention
  • Newborn screening
  • Ghana
  • Nigeria