The County Department of Health and Sanitation today marked World Sickle Cell Disease Day with an event in Shauri Yako aimed at raising awareness about the inherited blood disorder.

Under the theme "Hope through Progress: Advancing Sickle Cell Care Globally," officials highlighted the importance of early diagnosis and treatment to improve quality of life for those with sickle cell disease (SCD).

SCD is a group of disorders affecting red blood cells, which can become sickle or C-shaped rather than round. This causes the cells to become sticky and block small blood vessels, preventing oxygen flow.

Homa Bay County Medical Officer for Health, Dr. Ben Otieno (Center) getting his blood sample taken for testing during the SCD awareness marked in Homa Bay town on Wednesday

Speaking during the event, the Deputy Director for Medical Services, Dr. Amos Dullo stated that the symptoms include painful swelling, fever, severe pain in the back, limbs, chest or abdomen.

“It is important for residents to go for screening to know their status because diagnosis is the first step for treatment of such diseases,” He said.

The medic explains that the disease is very common among the luo community and called upon residents to make informed choices to be able to know their condition and that of their partners.

The inherited condition cannot be transmitted between individuals. Millions worldwide are affected from birth by the genetic disorder impacting red blood cell shape and function.

While no cure exists, treatments can reduce complications and improve quality of life, options include blood transfusions, IV fluids, pain medication, and hydroxyurea - a drug that can decrease painful episodes, acute chest syndrome, hospitalizations and transfusion needs in adults with SCD.

The inherited condition cannot be transmitted between individuals. Millions worldwide are affected from birth by the genetic disorder impacting red blood cell shape and function.