A medical doctor at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES), Stephen Emilio Njolomole, has advised Malawians not to allow marriages of people who are closely related in order to prevent Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Monday, Njolomole said SCD is caused by an abnormal red blood cells gene which causes sickle cell anemia.
He said this is due to close relative marriages (consanguineous marriages).
“Some people may have an abnormal gene and do not show any signs or symptoms of SCD, but when two in this scenario marry, they end up having a child with SCD, hence the advice for Sickle Cell screening in other countries before marriage, but this is not possible in Malawi,” said Njolomole.
He, therefore, stressed the need for early diagnosis of sickle cell in blood transfusions and medicines which boost blood levels to anyone, especially children.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), SCD affects millions of people throughout the world and that approximately 300,000 children are born with SCD worldwide each year.
Reported by Priscilla Ntaba