Sickle Cell Disease and Bone Marrow transplant in Kenya

Sickle Cell Disease is a blood disease affecting the hemoglobin in the red blood cell that transfers oxygen to the body’s cells. Hemoglobin S is an abnormal hemoglobin molecule; if found in an individual’s body, it can cause red blood cells to assume a sickle or crescent shape. Sickle Cell Disease can be treated by the procedure of Bone Marrow Transplant, where the patient’s damaged blood formation cell is replaced by the healthy blood formation cell of the donor. In this article, you will read about Sickle Cell Disease in Kenya and the treatment of SCD using a Bone Marrow Transplant.

Kenya experiences more than 6,000 children born with Sickle Cell Disease. Unfortunately, earlier 60%-80% of children die undiagnosed before age five. Later Kenya’s government took new initiatives to give the patients the proper treatment and spread awareness in the country for Sickle cell disease. As a result, the current survey of Kenya states that when 25,000 kids were diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease, almost 75% were successfully contacted and given treatment on time. Sickle Cell Disease treatment cost in Kenya is around $40000.

Bone Marrow Transplant cost for Sickle Cell Anemia in Kenya

Bone Marrow Transplant cost for Sickle Cell Anemia in Kenya Average Cost in USD (Full Match) Average Cost in USD (Half Match)
Sickle Cell Anemia $41,132 $55,528

The cost of a bone marrow transplant for Sickle cell anemia treatment in Kenya ranges between Sh49,97,500 and Sh67,46,600. Whereas, going to a foreign country for the same treatment may cost between Sh4.5 million and 9.5 million.

What causes Sickle Cell Disease in Kenya?

When it comes to the large number of people affected with Sickle Cell Disease in Kenya, not only Kenyan people, suffer from SCD, but all African countries have a huge population suffering from Sickle Cell Disease. There are many reasons that Kenyan people are getting infected with sickle cell disease; firstly, carrying the disease gives you a survival advantage against malaria, which has spread so widely there. A few other causes of Sickle Cell Disease are:

  • The high proportion of marriages between relatives
  • High rate of birth
  • Lack of effective campaigns to prevent and raise awareness of diseases
  • Absence of patient advocacy organizations

Treatment Options Available for Sickle Cell Disease in Kenya

  • Medication:

Patients get medications, such as hydroxyurea, to lower the number of sickle cells in their blood. Other medications can lessen discomfort and help with anemia. In addition, it is possible to provide antibiotics to stop potentially fatal illnesses.

  • Bone Marrow Transplant:

Sickle cell disease is treated and cured via bone marrow transplantation. In addition, a child’s body may start producing healthy red blood cells on its own after receiving healthy red blood stem cells in the bone marrow.

  • Gene Therapy:

The gene therapy procedure aims to replace unhealthy cells with healthy ones by removing the gene that causes sickle cell anemia from the patient’s DNA, then reintroducing some of the patient’s blood-producing stem cells.

Lea Kilenga Masamo and Her Initiatives for Sickle Cell Disease

Lea Kilenga Masamo is a 32-year-old lady from Nairobi who is trying to bring change in Kenya. For the last eight years, she has been bringing awareness about sickle cell disease and its treatment and advocating for improved patient care from the Kenyan government.

During Lea Kilenga Masamo’s initial days, she spread awareness in and through media and conferences of Non-Communicate Diseases. Later, the health Ministry of Kenya invited her as a patient advocate. She used to explain the photos and stories standing outside her booth. In these ways, she built her credibility, and her initiative bought a sense of urgency to sickle cell.

To give sickle cell patients access to care, Lea Kilenga Masamo founded a nonprofit organization called Africa Sickle Cell. They are not taking on the role of the government; instead, they are enlisting partners to support the development of health systems and infrastructure for the clinic space itself, including diagnostics, educating healthcare professionals, and opening a clinic in the neighborhood hospital so that sickle cell patients have a place to go.

Sickle Cell Disease Mesures taken during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients of NCD were not allowed in hospitals, and the volunteers of  NCD, such as sickle cell disease, were not allowed. As a result, the change brought about by Lea Kilenga Masamo’s advocacy efforts was that they were able to establish these hospitals and specialized NCD clinics within particular catchment regions and give NCD patients access to medications. The administration also acknowledged that individuals with NCDs are essential stakeholders and that it is crucial to address their concerns. The Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Strategy of 2020 to 2025 is thus including the process that began back then.

Kenya Government Objectives for Sickle Cell Disease Treatment

In order to bring awareness, measures are required to control and manage the disease, Kenya has created its own recommendations for the management and control of sickle cell disease (SCD). The objectives of such programs and conferences are:

  • To enhance SCD diagnosis,
  • To prepare medical professionals and other staff members for managing SCD patients,
  • To establish alliances with parties involved in providing care for those who have SCD.

Kenya joined Africa’s campaign to Fight Sickle Cell Disease.

The most prevalent condition affecting families in Kenya is sickle cell anemia, which has a disturbing toll that a new campaign has addressed by the country. The World Health Organization is in favor of the campaign. According to the WHO, the campaign aims to strengthen political will and mobilize resources to control sickle cell disease throughout Africa. Most therapy options will lessen symptoms and avoid consequences because the disease cannot be prevented.

Currently, bone marrow transplants are the only treatments available, but they are costly and need the best facilities and professionals. According to Kenya’s Health CAS Rashid Aman, the National Health Insurance Fund would cover the cost of treating diseases under Universal Health Coverage.

The program also aims to increase disease awareness among the general population in the media, health institutions, communities, and schools. In addition, Kenya introduced the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Guidelines for Control and Management to enhance early detection and lessen the burden of complications and mortality.

Success Rate of Bone Marrow Transplant for Sickle Cell Disease Treatment in Kenya?

Bone marrow transplant of an adult by using fewer compatible donors is dangerous. However, when the donor is related and matched, the success rate is roughly 90% of children. There are hazards even with this high success rate. The mortality rate for those who underwent this treatment was around 5%.

FAQs on Sickle Cell Disease Treatment using Bone Marrow transplant in Kenya

What is the cost of a Bone marrow transplant for Sickle Cell treatment in Kenya?

The cost of BMT for Sickle cell treatment in Kenya may range from $40,000 to $55,000.

Are Insurance provided for the treatment of Sickle Cell Disease?

Yes, Kenyan Government has started an initiative of the National Hospital Insurance Fund to provide Insurance to members for complicated disease treatment.

What is the success rate of BMT for Sickle Cell Disease treatment?

The success rate of Sickle Cell Disease Treatment using Bone marrow transplant is around 90%.

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