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Sickle Cell Patients Call for Subsidy on Drugs

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Sickle cell patients across the country have called on the government to subsidize the prices of drugs for proper management of the disease.

According to them, some of the medications needed to reduce the occurrence of crises associated with the disease are overly expensive and out of the reach for many.

“I think there is a drug called hydroxyurea; It’s very expensive and I think we should reduce the price a little bit, so that those who do have more money, the low-class people can also buy some of the drugs,” Priscilla, a patient told Accra based TV3.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from a person’s parents. The most common type is known as sickle cell anaemia (SCA). It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin found in red blood cells.

Meanwhile findings show that over 15,000 babies are born with sickle cell disease yearly in Ghana.

SCD Not A Death Sentence

According to Dr. Enam Bankas, Founder of Sickle Life, who is also a survivor, the perception that people living with the disease are bound for death is inaccurate.

Speaking on Accra based Starr FM, the doctor said, “Sickle Cell disease can be avoided. You need to get tested to know your sickling status. When you know your sickling status, make sure you know the status of whoever you end up marrying as well.”

She continued: “I don’t understand why people stigmatize people who have sickle cell. People assume that if you have sickle cell disease, it means the patients or their parents have offended a god or something. It is a myth.”

Dr Bankas therefore called on Ghanaians to check their status in the various hospitals adding that, testing is free of charge.

Ghana joined the rest of the world, yesterday to mark the World Sickle Cell Day which is celebrated on June 19.

By: Pamela A. Allotey (Intern)

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