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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 193252, 16 pages
Review Article

Sickle Cell Disease: New Opportunities and Challenges in Africa

1Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
2Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
3Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
4School of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Ghana
5Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, College of Health Sciences, University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria
6Division of Human Genetics, Faculty of Heath Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
7Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon
8Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Received 23 April 2013; Accepted 9 June 2013

Academic Editors: Y. Al-Tonbary, M. A. Badr, A. El-Beshlawy, A. Mansour, and F. Tricta

Copyright © 2013 J. Makani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most common genetic causes of illness and death in the world. This is a review of SCD in Africa, which bears the highest burden of disease. The first section provides an introduction to the molecular basis of SCD and the pathophysiological mechanism of selected clinical events. The second section discusses the epidemiology of the disease (prevalence, morbidity, and mortality), at global level and within Africa. The third section discusses the laboratory diagnosis and management of SCD, emphasizing strategies that been have proven to be effective in areas with limited resources. Throughout the review, specific activities that require evidence to guide healthcare in Africa, as well as strategic areas for further research, will be highlighted.