Sickle Cell: Group trains healthcare workers on newborn baby screening in  FCT

 The Centre of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease Research and Training (CESRTA), an NGO, University of Abuja has trained healthcare workers on newborn baby screening on sickle cell disease.

Director, CESRTA, Prof. Obiageli Nnodu, said in Abuja that the exercise was aimed to imbibe healthcare workers with the needed knowledge in screening and sample collection.

According to her, the centre is to handle cases of concession for newborn baby.

“We have screened more than 5,810 babies.

“The screening is ongoing in 20 primary healthcare centres across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where we collate blood samples from healthcare workers,’’ Nnodu said

She said during the screening, it was noticed that samples were not properly collated and so they had to address lots of challenges that were found.

According to her, the training is to educate the healthcare workers on dry blood spot and also genetic counselling and how to look after the baby.

“We send the babies to be enrolled in the comprehensive care.

“We also want to give training on primary health management for sickle cell disease.

“This will help people access care near their area as not everybody will be able to go to the hospital,’’ she said.

Nnodu said that the training would enable the healthcare provider to take the samples and properly fill the cards.

“With the training, they will be able to take the samples and fill the cards in a proper way.

“They will also give official information to the mothers to enable them to bring their children to the hospital for enrolment in paediatric sickle cell programme.

” When the parents come with the babies for the time, the babies would be identified, then during confirmatory testing, transport will be given to them,” Nnodu said.

According to her, the drugs are given to them free, and enrolled in the clinic, to encourage the mothers.

Nnodu said that out of the number of babies screened, 55 babies were identified as sickle cell carriers.

She advised mothers to make sure that their babies were tested after delivery.

“If the parents are not educated on how to look after the babies, they will die before five years of age as the disease does not manifest until from six months,’’ she said. (NAN)