Over the years, Sickle cell disease also known as SCD has been very much neglected or let’s say it has been given little to no attention despite the impact on public health till the extent that very few people had a knowledge about it. However the few people that knew what it was had just surface level knowledge about it either from a place of person experience or heresay. This caused many patients to face discrimination and stigmatization among their peers.
Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder caused by abnormal red blood cells and as a result causes severe pain, anemia, organ damage, and a shortened lifespan. This has and is still affecting millions of individuals worldwide, primarily in African, Middle East, and South Asia.
Sickle Cell Disease: The Unrecognized Struggle
For decades, it was always a normal thing to hear myopic speculations and opinions of people’s thoughts about Sickle cell disease which were mostly wild theories, myths and misconceptions as regards to the causes, prevention, management and even cure of Sickle cell and these all stemmed from a place of ignorance.
But then, in recent years, there’s been a major shift in awareness through the media, community campaigns and sensitization of the masses to properly educate people on the actual causes, prevention, treatment and even management of Sickle cell disease.
This significant shift, brought about by technology, scientific research , and increased advocates, Sickle cell disease has therefore starting getting the recognition and attention it should thereby offering hope for improved treatment methods and enhanced support for those living with Sickle cell.
While we are making progress in the eradication of sickle cell disease, there is still so much work to be done. For example some challenges are still very much present like the lack of access to quality healthcare systems, especially in rural settings and low resource areas. This has constantly been a barrier for many individuals with Sickle cell.
Secondly the cost of new medical inventions can also be very expensive so this disease continues to disproportionately affect marginalized communities and the poor masses
It is no news that access to quality healthcare is a dire challenge for many.
Nevertheless, to ensure that sickle cell disease continues to receive the attention it deserves, I’ll say these are some implementations that will help to achieve a turning point to the way sickle cell disease is perceived.
Increased Rate Of Education And Awareness
There should be thorough awareness campaigns to help stop the ridiculous myths and reduce stigma surrounded with Sickle cell which of course leads to the total prevention of the disease, early diagnosis and support for it’s patients.
Access To Affordable Healthcare
A conscious effort must be made to ensure that everyone living with sickle cell have access to standard healthcare, including specialized therapists, professional and effective medications.
Both the government, non-governmental organizations, philanthropic organizations, and research institutions should really invest their resources towards funding sickle cell research and better treatment options.
Advocacy And Support Groups
There should definitely be more groups like advocacy groups to help champion the cause of SCD, advocate for implementation of programs and policies that benefit those living with it.
In addition to this, the importance of support groups and communities cannot be overemphasized because it helps patients feel like they are not alone. It helps them talk about their challenges and trauma and also gives them room to heal and make them feel seen and understood.
Conclusion – Is Sickle Cell A Lifetime Disease?
All these initiatives have so far elevated and improved the well-being of both families and people living with Sickle cell disease and if there is much more progress on this, the people affected will live a better and normal life.
In conclusion, it is very possible to achieve a world where Sickle cell disease no longer imposes stigma and trauma on affected individuals neither will they be seen as a burden to their friends and loved ones.
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