Health

Uganda: Sickle Cell Disease in Uganda – Prevalence, Challenges, and Progress


Sickle cell disease is a serious genetic disorder that affects the red blood cells. People with sickle cell disease have red blood cells that are shaped like a crescent moon.

These abnormal red blood cells can block blood vessels, which can lead to pain, organ damage, and even death.

The prevalence of sickle cell trait in Uganda is 13.3%. This means that about 1 in 7 people in Uganda has sickle cell trait.

The highest prevalence of sickle cell trait is found in the Western and Central regions of the country, with some districts having a prevalence as high as 23.9%.

The prevalence of sickle cell disease in Uganda is estimated to be 0.8%. This means that about 1 in 125 people in Uganda has sickle cell disease.

It is estimated that 20,000 babies are born with sickle cell disease in Uganda each year, and approximately 15,000 of these babies die before the age of 5.

Sickle cell disease is a major cause of death in children under the age of 5 in Uganda.

The high rate of sickle cell disease in Uganda is attributed to several factors. Firstly, sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder, and the sickle cell gene is more common in people of African descent. Since Uganda has a majority-black population, it has a higher prevalence of the disease.

Secondly, sickle cell disease offers some protection against malaria, a deadly disease common in Africa. The sickle-shaped red blood cells are less likely to be infected with malaria parasites, so individuals with sickle cell trait have a slightly higher chance of surviving malaria.