Rethinking the sickle cell awareness campaign in West Africa: Evidence from Nigeria

Rethinking the sickle cell awareness campaign in West Africa: Evidence from Nigeria

Author by Dr. Kolade Ajilore

Journal/Publisher: African Renaissance

Volume/Edition: 16

Language: English

Pages: 167 - 185

Abstract

Emergent statistics on the geographic distribution of sickle cell anaemia is indicative of the failure of current strategies in tackling this endemic public health issue in Africa and Nigeria in particular. As part of continued preventive education policy, Delta, one of the states in Nigeria susceptible to the ailment initiated the “operation know your genotype campaign” to educate people of marriageable age on the need to take premarital genotype test to avoid incompatible mating. Using a mixed methods involving in-depth interviews of experts and survey of 300 Asaba adults, the study sought to determine the campaign’s, effectiveness in creating awareness and influencing individuals to undertake genotype compatibility test. The findings indicate low awareness and knowledge of the genotype test and compatibility campaign. Ignorance about the causes of sickle cell anaemia persists and many respondents do not know their genotype, suggesting that the campaign may have been unsuccessful in creating needed awareness of and motivation for individuals’ to go for the genotype compatibility testing. The campaign battled against religious beliefs and traditional myths that might have muted its desired impact.


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