A total of 50 families affected by Sickle Cell last Thursday received Life health mobile phones from Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation (USCRF), in partnership with CTI Africa and Ministry of Health.
While handing over the phones at Kampala Hotel Africana, Tracy Nagawa, Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation Executive Director, said a total of Ushs 50 million has been invested to enroll the first batch of Sickle Cell warriors into the LifeHealth Network.
“Fifty families have been given Life health mobile phones loaded with CTI Life health applications that will in turn improve access to medical doctors, treatment and the general wellbeing of individuals affected by sickle cell disease”, she said.
Nagawa explained that; in Uganda, 20,000 babies are born each year with the genetic defect and 20 per cent of the Ugandan population has the genetic trait of sickle cell disease. “People with sickle cell disease often suffer from many complications, such as anemia, life threatening bacterial infections, severe physical pain, strokes and general organ failure. Symptoms vary from person to person”, she added.
According to Dr Grace Kaisa, the Director CTI Health, these smart phones will promote sickle cell awareness, testing and provide telemedicine services through the life health CTC application.
“Sickle Cell disease is a genetic disease that affects the red blood cells. Due to their sickle cell like formation, the red blood cells cannot efficiently transport oxygen into the somatic cells”, she said. She explained that Life health Network has a digital healthcare eco system that leverages on telemedicine, artificial intelligence and mobile team of medical professionals to deliver an affordable suit of primary health care products.
She mentioned that the CTI Africa is honored to join USCRF to improve healthcare access, welfare improvement, disease management and affordability for sickle cell patients in Uganda.
“Together with CTI Africa, we want to use these funds to create a registry for all sickle cell warriors. This will help us give specialized health care, promote awareness and testing, and provide telemedicine services using Life health CTC by availing 10, 000 smart phones”, she added.
Dr Charles Kiyaga, Ministry of Health National Sickle Cell Coordinator, said Government is to construct sickle cell clinics in all Regions of Uganda, to treat the disease in its infant stages.
“Government is in the process of putting much effort to fight sickle cell. We want to create six sickle cell clinics countrywide by next year”, he said. He called upon partners in the fight against sickle cell to support Mulago Hospital Sickle Cell department.
Ruth Nankanja Mukiibi, is one of the few people who have lived to celebrate their thirty eighth birthday with sickle cells. Married to Mukiibi and a mother of two, Nankanja says testing for sickle cells is as important as an HIV test. “Before I got married, I tested for sickle cells with my husband and the results proved that he was AA and I was a sickler. This helped us make informed decisions through our marriage and family,” she revealed.
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