Sickle SCAN Lauded by Nigerian Healthcare Stakeholders

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Stakeholders decry errors in sickle cell detection, laud new testing kit

By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin

Stakeholders in the health sector in Edo State have lamented that between 22 and 25 per cent of sickle cell sufferers were victims of wrong identification of genotype using the conventional testing methods.

They said the errors from the tests included improper reading of test results and electricity cuts which affects originalities of blood tests.

But there is a sort of relief for sufferers of sickle cell anaemia as a new detecting kit was yesterday in Benin City introduced to health practitioners which in less than five minutes could detect a person’s genotype.

The health practitioners lamented that detecting errors have led to AS persons marrying AS person and give birth SS and therefore called on governments to embrace the new kit and make it affordable to Nigerians.

Marketing Manager of Assene-Laborex Limited, Mrs Chineye Esoro while introducing the kit at a ceremony in Central Hospital, Benin City said the new kit does not need electricity and could be operated by any adult.

She said there are 300,000 yearly births of Sickle Cell Disease persons and that it is an epidemic in Nigeria and India but “reasonably well controlled in the rest of the world.

“Sickle cell disease affects 150,000 births annually in Nigeria. Early diagnosis is hampered by factors such as centralised and urban localisation of laboratories, high cost diagnostic equipment and inadequate skilled manpower to operate them”

She said test of the Sickle SCAN® recorded above 98 per cent success as “it is able to correctly identify individuals with the usual adult Hb at the point-of-care. The test may be conducted by healthcare workers without prior training and expensive equipment, independent of electric power supply, giving it high feasibility indices as a screening tool”

Medical Director of the Central Hospital, Benin City, Dr Philip Ugbodaga said he had informed the Hospital Management Board (HMB) which is in charge of the 34 government hospitals in the state and believed that the Governor Godwinn Obaseki led administration would key into the project to make affordable as he said early detection of sickle cell patients helps in early care for the patients and prolonged life for them.

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