Globally, and in Africa, the growing burden of sickle cell disease is undeniable. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the world’s most common genetic diseases, affecting an increasing number of people but is still relatively unknown to the wider public. It poses a significant public health problem notably in sub-Sahara Africa and especially in Nigeria.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 300,000 children are born annually with sickle cell disease worldwide, and over 75% of the affected children are born in Africa where over 1000 babies are born with the disease every day and about 50-90% of these children die before age 5. More than half of the world’s sickle cell disease population lives in Africa, which accounts for about 66% of the estimated 120 million people in the world living with the disease. Besides the very high prevalence rates in Africa and mostly in Nigeria, Africa also accounts for high under-5 mortality rates due to preventable complications.
The impact of the disease on affected communities cannot be overstated; it ranges from causing high morbidity and mortality, to reducing the quality of life, and imposing a high socio-economic burden on individuals, families and health systems.
Although developments in recent years has seen Sickle Cell Disease recognized by both the United Nations (UN) and the WHO as a non-communicated disease of major and growing importance, it is still considered to be one of the most neglected tropical disease in Africa.
The inaugural African Congress on Sickle Cell Disease aims to address this gap and more. The 3-day conference will be held at the prestigious Landmark Center in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria from Thursday, 31st October to Saturday, 2nd November, 2019 under the high patronage of Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR, Ph.D.
The congress is being organized by Dr. SickleCell Center for SCD in association with Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation and supported by a host of Sickle Cell Organizations across Africa and is set to bring together government representatives, inter-governmental organizations, leaders of industry, civil society organizations, academic institutions, donors, the private sector, media and individuals living with sickle cell themselves from across Africa and rest of the world with aligned interest in exploring sustainable solutions to the challenges of sickle cell disease.
The overall goal of the conference is to facilitate active exchange of information among scientists, researchers, policy makers and other relevant key stakeholders, to highlight challenges and opportunities, and enhance strategies to further sickle cell control in Africa.
Registration for all interested participants of the African Congress opens in June 2019. Visit www.acscd.org or Follow @acscd_conf on social media to subscribe and stay updated on the latest information on early bird registrations and other necessary details.
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