The Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF) says wrong genotype diagnosis is a major contributing factor to the high prevalence rate of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in Nigeria.
Its President, Prof. Adeyinka Falusi, made this known at a news conference in Ibadan.
The news conference was held to kick start the annual “Know Your Genotype (KYG) Workshop” organised by the NGO for school-age children and parents.
The workshop has the tagline: “Changing the Dynamics to Reduce the Burden of SCD in Nigeria.”
Falusi, a Professor of Haematology and Genetics, said that the most commonly used diagnostic tests for genotype was costly and might take weeks, which could result in misdiagnosis.
“SCD is the commonest genetic inherited blood disorder in Nigeria affecting over fourmillion individuals and with about 40 million sickle cell trait carriers.
In Nigeria, genotype testing is very difficult and sometimes inaccurate; we cannot talk about awareness of SCD without accessible and affordable genotype testing methods.
Genotype wrong diagnosis has resulted in people choosing incompatible partners and spouses, thus resulting in more children being born with SCD.
“SCHAF is stepping in to support the government to fashion out ways in which we can reduce the public health burden of SCD through accurate diagnosis and awareness, which are hallmarks of prevention strategy,” she said.
According to her, the foundation has started making use of a fast, inexpensive diagnostic tool for SCD screening called HemoType SC to facilitate accessible and affordable access to genotype screening in the country.
“The diagnostic test ‘HemoTypeSC’ is a point of care rapid test kit that has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).”