Leveraging Partnerships for Sickle Cell Disease Management: Kenya Takes Bold Steps
Unveiling the Afya Dhabiti Project
In a landmark move, the Kenyan Ministry of Health has launched the “Sickle Cell Diseases Afya Dhabiti Project”. This initiative, a collaboration with Novartis and other stakeholders, represents a significant stride in the national effort to tackle the difficulties faced by those living with sickle cell disease. The project was inaugurated by Dr. Zeinab Gura, Deputy Director-General of Health at the State Department of Medical Services, who emphasized the importance of timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment in managing this challenging disease.
The Afya Dhabiti Project aspires to enhance diagnosis and care for individuals with sickle cell disease by investing in training. Furthermore, the project aims to reduce the cost of Hydroxyurea, a crucial medication for the disease, thus alleviating the financial constraints faced by patients.
Understanding Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder that predominantly affects Africa, with an estimated 240,000 children born with the condition each year across the continent. In Kenya, around 14,000 children are born with the disease annually. Without consistent newborn screening and access to appropriate treatment, it is feared that between 50-90% of those born with the disease in Sub-Saharan Africa may die undiagnosed before their fifth birthday.
The disease significantly impacts several regions within Kenya, especially Western, Nyanza, and Coastal areas, affecting 17 counties. Migration and intermarriage have also increased the prevalence of the disease in other parts of the country.
Investing in Diagnosis and Treatment
The Afya Dhabiti Project aims to fill a critical gap in the management of sickle cell disease in Kenya. By investing in training, the project hopes to ensure that more individuals receive timely diagnoses and appropriate care. Additionally, the project seeks to reduce the cost of Hydroxyurea, a key medication for managing sickle cell disease.
Access to this medicine can significantly reduce the severity of symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with sickle cell disease. However, the cost of this medication has often been a barrier to treatment. By making Hydroxyurea more affordable, the project hopes to increase access to effective treatment and reduce the financial burden on patients and their families.
Creating a Unified Approach to Care
The Afya Dhabiti Project represents a unified approach to sickle cell disease management in Kenya. By establishing national guidelines for managing the disease, the project aims to create consistency in the quality of care provided across the country. Furthermore, the project will work to increase awareness of the disease among healthcare providers and the general public.
Through this initiative, the Kenyan government also plans to establish sickle cell clinics in hospitals and health centers throughout the country. These specialized clinics will provide comprehensive care for individuals with sickle cell disease, including access to essential medications and supportive care.
The Sickle Cell Diseases Afya Dhabiti Project represents a major step forward in the fight against sickle cell disease in Kenya. By improving access to diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care, this initiative has the potential to significantly improve the lives of individuals living with this disease. Through partnerships with key stakeholders, the project aims to create a sustainable model for sickle cell disease management that could serve as a blueprint for other countries facing similar challenges.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.