About 8,000 sickle cell patients in Oman

Oman Monday 24/June/2024 16:42 PM
By: Times News Service
About 8,000 sickle cell patients in Oman

Muscat: Sickle cell is a hereditary disorder that is transmitted from their parents to the children and remains with patients for their life, said Dr. Salam Al Kindi, Professor and Consultant Hematologist at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman during a meeting titled ‘SHAPE’ in Muscat recently.

“About 6 percent of the Omani population carries the sickle cell gene and between 0.2 and 0.3 percent of the population are infected with this disease. Patients infected with this ailment are also found in other GCC countries and the Mediterranean, in fact, many countries have higher percentages compared to Oman.

“There are about 8,000 cases of sickle cell anaemia patients in Oman and between 100 and 120 children are born every year with this disease across the country,” said Dr Al Kindi.

While talking about steps being taken to control this ailment, he said: “Apart from monitoring, people are being told to go for early testing before the marriage to check the chances of disease and if the patient is suffering from this disorder, we give a choice for the selection of embryo so that a healthy and normal child is born.”

Praising the government, he said that the selection of embryo procedure is supported by the government in Oman and the parents have the freedom to do it either in Oman or outside.

“We have the Oman Hereditary Blood Disorder Association to create awareness among the public on how to avoid hereditary blood disorders and provide a wide range of services.

“We have specialised clinics in Muscat, Nizwa, Sohar which directly deal with sickle cell cases. There is also an early detection programme at the SQUH during birth, which the hospital has been doing for the last 20 years. If detected, parents are informed about the case and directly referred to the physician for treatment,” said Dr Al Kindi.

Praising the awareness programme, he said that it seems the message is reaching every region of the country as more and more people are coming for tests before their wedding, particularly the governorates of Al Sharqiyah and Al Dakhiliyah having the highest prevalence of the disease.

“We hope that there will be a national survey soon in this regard. We are working on a national registry where everyone would be captured with their national ID. The Ministry of Health has launched a new mobile application Shifa, for monitoring personal health. The application displays the patient’s health data in various health institutions in a smooth and simple way. It is a special electronic application for individuals that saves all medical information and is a platform for exchanging medical information between the patient and the treating doctor, he added.

June 19 is officially designated as World Sickle Cell Awareness Day with the goal to increase public knowledge and an understanding of sickle cell disease, and the challenges experienced by patients and their families and caregivers