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SICKLE CELL TESTING PRICES SHOULD BE LOWERED
Ministry of health is calling on private health facilities to lower the sickle cell test fees so as to enable ugandans know their status in regards to the disease. Currently the lowest testing price at a private health facility costs UGX.40,000.
The director clinical services in the ministry, Dr. Charles Olaro says the high fees charged from those willing to take tests have scared many Ugandans. This has contributed to increased numbers of babies born with the disease hence increasing the burden in the country.
He made the remarks, while recieving 15000 sickle cell testing kits donation, worth 30 million Uganda shillings, on behalf of ministry of health ,by the Association of charted certified Accounts ACCA, at its office’s in Kampala.
He hailed the association for the generous offer, saying more emphasis should be put on premarital testing and counseling and newborn screening.
According to the national Uganda sickle cell survey for 2015, 13.3 sickle cell are traits ,0.73% have sickle cell disease.
About 15,000-20000 babies are born each year with the disease ,of which 75% -80% don’t make it to their 5th day.
The national sickle cells disease coordinator, Dr. Charles Kiyaga adds that scaling down the numbers of sickle cells in the country call for collective responsibility from both govt and the private sector since the burden is enomus.
Sickle cell is a genetic problem largely among people of African origin.