The Cayman Islands joins the United Nations in observing World Sickle Day on Wednesday, 19 June 2019. Raising public awareness of the disease is the main objective of the day. Sickle cell disease is a chronic disorder with the condition present at birth. It is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes. At present, there are 41 persons with sickle cell disease known to the Public Health Department.
While screening for sickle cell disease in the Cayman Islands has been in place since the early 1970s for high-risk families, and since the 1980s for school entry screening, routine newborn screening has been in place since 1997. This has helped in early identification of the sickle cell trait and disease with appropriate counseling and management.
“It is important to test for sickle cell trait as this information can help parents make informed reproductive choices. If someone has sickle cell trait, it is important to know if one’s partner is also a carrier. If both parents are sickle cell carriers, with each pregnancy, there is a 25% risk of having a child with sickle cell disease,” said the Health Services Authority’s Genetics Coordinator Joy Merren.
A Sickle Cell Support Group meets three to four times a year. Patients and families receive information on management of the disorder as well as support. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, 17 June, 2019 at 7:30pm at the Women’s Health Waiting Room. Dr Judith Nicholls will be speaking on “Approaches to Pain Management in Patients with Sickle Cell Disorder” and Dr Anna Matthews will be speaking on “Almost Sickle: The Sickle Cell Trait”.
The public is invited and light refreshments will be served.
For further information, please contact Mrs Merren on 244-2630 at the Public Health Department.
In acknowledgement of World Sickle Cell Day, the next Sickle Cell Support Group meeting is planned for Monday, 17 June 2019 at 7:30 pm at the Women’s Health Waiting Room at the Health Services Authority. The speakers will be Dr. Nicholls who will be focusing on pain management and Dr. Matthews who will be focusing on sickle cell trait. The public is invited.
Light refreshments will be served.