Sickle cell anemia, a disease to fight in Haiti


June 20 marks the World Sickle Cell Day, also known as sickle cell anemia. This genetic blood disease is very common in Haiti. But very few measures are implemented to block the path to this pathology.

Mackencia, a twenty-year-old woman, has been suffering from sickle cell anemia since childhood. These days are often marked by fatigue and headaches. Sometimes she feels a sharp pain in the chest. "I go to the hospital very often, but the symptoms always come back after a while," says the young woman who lives in Carrefour.

Painful exertions in the abdomen and bones of the arms and legs flood your days with stress. These pains last several weeks sometimes. She sometimes feels short of breath and her heart rate increases. "I'm often exhausted. Sometimes I lose all hope of living long," she says, her voice burned with anguish.

According to Dr. Elsie Metellus Chalumeau, sickle-cell anemia or sickle cell disease is a chronic disease with hereditary transmission punctuated by acute attacks. "Formerly considered exclusively a disease of black races, is now found in other ethnic groups because of the mix of populations, the world today has become a huge village. If this disease predominates in the black races, it is evident that Haiti is concerned and makes It is important to talk about it, "says Dr. Chalumeau.

"Sickle cell anemia is anemia related to an abnormality of the hemoglobin structure, the latter being the main constituent of the red blood cell (a blood cell that gives it a red color). provides vital functions, such as the transport of oxygen through the body, "she says, adding that, contrary to certain prejudices, Sickle cell anemia is not a deficiency of vitamins or minerals, but a structural problem.

According to data available on this issue, more than 300,000 children are born each year worldwide with this disease and 50% will not reach their fifth birthday without care at birth. Sickle cell anemia is more common than hemophilia, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, and many others. According to the WHO, sickle cell anemia is recognized as one of four plagues, along with malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis.

In Haiti, there are no reliable studies on this disease. However, Rfi notes, there are cohorts of children with sickle cell disease in most hospitals. "Thus, St. Damien Hospital treats alone 1,500 children affected by the disease, better known as sickle cell anemia, in the country," says the Rfi website.

"In my private practice as an internist and hematologist / oncologist, in every 10 patients consulted, at least 1 was a sickle cell (partial form of the pathology in which only a part of the red blood cells has the abnormality). the sicklemic trait that ignores their status.Remember that two people with the trait have a 50% risk of giving birth to a baby who has the sicklemic feature and a 25% risk of giving birth to a sickle, Elsie Metellus Chalumeau.

Sickle cell anemia is a very prevalent disease in the country. Unfortunately, health authorities have never implemented measures to block pathology.

Evens Regis


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