New Sickle Test Cell Test App in Offing.
By Damba Rogers.
sickle cell testing in Uganda is quite expensive for a low income earner in Uganda, but with changing world, a group of software engineers from Uganda are now in the process of coming up with a simple and cost effective sickle cell testing App which targets disadvantaged populations in the country.
Bonita Beatrice Nanziri, the project head for the smart phone based sickle cell diagnosis reveals that they have worked on three prototypes with the two not solving the doctors’ needs due to low levels of accuracy(30-60%), expensive to use hence the third that requires no expertise but only some bit of training on how to use it.
Bonita notes that the phone App is cost effective as it only requires a person to spend UGX.5000 to carry out a sickle cell test compared to the one that has and is being used which costs a minimum of UGX.30,000 for govt laboratories and way above that amount in private facilities.
Ms. Byuma Namayanja Ruth a resident of Namuwongo a kampala suburb and a mother to now two sicklers, one aged 33 and another one 27 and reveals the hardships she always meets while taking care of sicklers among them being spending most of the time in hospitals which in the end forced her to drop her careers as a professional teacher to fully concentrate on looking after her children as a symbol of love for them to live longer.
According to the permanent secretary ministry of health, Dr. Diana Atwine reveals that govt is now trying hard to critically attend to such diseases like sickle cells. Confirming that they are soon incorporating Hydroxyurea drug into the free drugs to be provided by govt health facilities to sicklers.
The drug minimizes crisis which contribute to the death of these special people and its upon this that Dr. Atwine calls for testing before marriage coupled with testing of children to know their sickle cell status.Cue.Diana.
According to the Uganda Demographic and Health survey (UDHS), 2016, the sickle cell disease prevalence stands at 0.73 while the trait prevalence stands at 13.3% and it is estimated that 25,000 babies are born annually with the disease with 80 percent dying before their 5thbirthday. The north, east and Buganda are ranking high among areas with the sickle cell trait and disease.
The above worrying statistics forced Prof. Christopher Ndugwa Magara a renown doctor when it comes to treating sickle cells to remind govt on prioritizing sickle cells in budgeting as well as setting up more clinics to provide free and comprehensive treatment to sicklers across the country