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Raising awareness of sickle cell disease for healthcare assistant practice: Nigerian perspectives

Arije-Bosun, Stella Foluke and Hayes, Catherine (2017) Raising awareness of sickle cell disease for healthcare assistant practice: Nigerian perspectives. British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, 11 (7). pp. 326-331. ISSN 1753-1586

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Abstract

Raising awareness of sickle cell disease for healthcare assistants (HCAs) is important if they are to understand not only key aspects of the condition, but also if they are to communicate effectively with people and their families and carers who may be in the midst of acute illness or its potentially devastating aftermath. Sickle cell disorder (SCD) is a life-threatening genetic disorder due to abnormal haemoglobin. The condition is most prevalent in Africa. More than 10%-40% of African people carry sickle cell trait (SCT), leading to an estimated sickle cell prevalence of at least 2%. Nigeria has the largest population of people with SCD in the world. More than 25% of Nigerians are healthy carriers of SCT. Couples where both have SCT face a high likelihood of passing on the condition to their children. This explains why more than 150 000 babies with SCD are born in Nigeria every year. Having a working knowledge of the nature of the condition and its implications is useful for HCAs who may be working in areas of the UK with high percentages of Nigerian families in local communities, such as the south east of England. This article provides a holistic insight for HCAs into the condition and key considerations for everyday clinical practice when working with individuals or their families.

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