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1.1 Back ground of study

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from a person’s parents. It results in an abnormality in the oxygen carrying protein hemoglobin found in red blood cell, it contain hemoglobin ‘S’ instead of ‘A’ This leads to a rigid sickle-like shape under certain circumstances. A number of health problems may develop, such as attacks of pains (“sickle cell crisis “), anemia, swelling in the hands and feet, bacterial infections and stroke. Long term pain may develop as people get older. It is the most common genetic disorder in Africa and occurs approximately in every 2,400 live births, Lewis (2005).

The first modern report of sickle cell disease may have been in 1940, where the autopsy of an executed runaway slave was discussed; the key finding was the absence of the spleen. There were also reports among Africa Slaves in the United State exhibited resistance to malaria but been prone to leg ulcer.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) was discovered in a young man named Walter Clement Noel, a 20 years old, a first year dental student studying in Chicago from the Island of Grenada. It was described in 1940 as a peculiar elongated and sickle-shape red blood cell, by Ernest E. Irons.

Sickle cell anemia (SCA) was the first disease that linked to hemoglobin protein and genetically characterized in 1910, sickle disease was first characterized when Dr. James B. Herrick, a professor of medicine wrote a report about a patient who suffered from a strange disease including such symptoms a Asthmatic condition, blood flow problems including body ulcers, where it was first known as sickle cell anemia in United state.

In United State, about 1:500 blacks have sickle cell anemia. But it is also found in considerable number of people in Europe, India, Middle East and Africa. Africa is kwon to be the wide spread reaching its highest prevalence in parts of Africa as well as among people with origin in equatorial Africa, the Mediterranean basin and Saudi Arabia, National Institute of Health, (2010).

World Health Organization (2010) reported that about 2% of newborn in Nigeria were affected by sickle cell anemia giving a total of 150,000 affected children born every year in Nigeria alone. This inherited disease that is known to be an incurable disease in the whole world and has been a common disease in Nigeria with a lot of countries which have gone a long way in destroying the future of the affected ones by sending them to their early graves.

Despite the occurrence of this disease in Nigeria, some people attributed it to witchcraft or evil spirit. The condition in 1980s when it was known locally as “Ogbanjes” (children who come and go) among the Igbos and “Abiku” (predestined to death) among the Yorubas and “Sankaramiji” (perceive to be paranormal) among the Hausa-Fulani’s because of the high infant mortality rate caused by the condition (Africa Medical Literature, 2010).

Sickle cell trait (Hb As) is a heterozygous state in which the individual inherited the Hbs gene from only one parent with no associated hematological abnormalities. (Famakinwa, 2002).

Despite the fact that genetic counselling and health education on sickle cell anemia had been in existence for quite some years in Nigeria, children are still being diagnosed day by day as having sickle cell anemia, despite the awareness on genotype and the importance of its knowledge. (Akor, 2010).

The term “disease” is applied because the inherited abnormality caused a pathological condition that can lead to death and severe complications. Not all inherited variants hemoglobin are detrimental, a concept known as genetic polymorphism.

“Sickle cell crisis or sickling crisis may be used to describe several independent acute conditions occurring in patient with sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease as a blood disease is believed to have several effects on the victim and this is why the research intend to dig into the effects of sickle cell Anemia in children aged 0-12yrs attending Comprehensive Health Centre Otukpo.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Sickle cell anemia is on the increase with it deadly effects especially on the health of children which has led to great increase in the number of infant Mortality and Morbidity. Famakinwa, 2002).

In spite the awareness that has been created by NGO’s (No-governmental Organization), Federal Ministry of Health, the media and other agencies, the level of knowledge of individuals in the society cannot be assured. They have discovered multiple cases of sickle cell anemia among children with it impingement in St. Daniel Hospital Otukpo, where it was observed that majority of the children admitted in the pediatric ward are children with sickling crisis, and the children experiencing an array of complication with negative implication for cognitive and academic performance. This gingered the interest of the researcher to embark on this study which is aim at bringing to the notice and awareness of the society the drastic or extensive and devastating effects on children.

1.3 Aims and Objective

The purpose is to investigate the effects of sickle cell disease among children attending Comprehensive Health Centre Otukpo. Specifically, the study is centered on the following objectives.

1. To determine the effect of sickle cell anemia among children aged 0-12 years attending Comprehensive Health Centre Otukpo.

2. To investigate or determine the socio-economic status of the parent of children living with sickle cell anemia.

3. To determine the causes of sickle cell anemia among children aged 0-12 years attending Comprehensive Health Centre Otukpo.

4. To determine the level of awareness of parents of the children suffering from sickle cell anemia.

1.4 Significance of the study

The researcher hopes that the finding/results of the research will be relevant in many aspects:

  • Serve as guideline for other researchers in the same field for further research purpose.
  • It will serve as material for creating awareness on the disease
  • It will also help workers in Otukpo, Local Government Area (LGA) to develop strategies of preventing and reducing infant mortality rate.
  • This study will help community to be enlightened on the consequences of sickle cell among children and it will trigger further researches into the causes and measures of limiting sickle cell disease among children.
1.5 Research Questions

1. What are the effects of sickle cell anemia among children of aged 0-12 years attending Comprehensive Health Centre Otukpo, Benue State?

2. What are the socio-economic status of the parents of children living with sickle cell anemia?
3. What are the causes of sickle cell anemia among children aged 0-12 years attending Comprehensive Health Centre Otukpo, Benue State?
4. What are the level of awareness of parents of the children suffering from sickle cell anemia.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is limited to Comprehensive Health Centre in Otukpo Local Government Area, Benue State. It has been designed to cover children living with sickle anemia within the age of 0-12 years irrespective of education background and religious beliefs

1.7 Hypotheses

1. Sickle cell anemia does not affect children aged 0-12 years attending

2. Comprehensive Health Centre Otukpo, Benue State

3. Sickle cell does not affect the socio-economic status of parents of children living with sickle cell anemia

4. Inheritance or genetic are not the major cause of sickle cell anemia

5. Parents are not aware of children suffering from sickle anemia.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

DISEASE:- A disorder with a specific cause and recognizable signs and symptoms

ANEMIA:- A deficiency in either quantity or quality of oxygen-carrying pigment (Hemoglobin in the blood).

HAEMOGLOBIN:- The complex protein molecules contained within the red blood cells which gives them their color and by which Oxygen is transported.

HOMOZYGOUS:- Possessing an identical pair of genes for an inherited characteristics.

HEREDITARY:-Transmitted from parent to offspring

HETEROZYGOUS:- Possessing dissimilar alternative gene for an inherited characteristics one gene coming each parent.

MUTATION:- A change in the genetic material (DNA)

GENETYPE:- The genetic constitutional of an individual or group as determined by the particular set of genes it possesses.

CELL:- The basic unit of genetic material which is carried at a particular place on a chromosomes.

CRISIS:- The occurrence of sudden severe pain in certain disease

ALLELE:-One of two or more Alternative form of a gene only one of which can be present in chromosomes.

CROMOSOMES:- A carrier of genetic information that is visible under an ordinary light microscope. It is also a structure within the cell that bears the genetic material as a thread like linear strand of DNA bounded to various proteins in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells.

EFFECT:- A change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

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