This article was originally published in the British Journal of Haematology by Furahini Tluway (Sickle Cell Programme, Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania ) and Julie Makani (Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom). As part of the work reperesented in this article was funded through and HDIF grant for innovations in health, we are pleased to make the article available on our website.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the single most important genetic cause of childhood mortality globally. Tanzania has one of the highest annual births of SCD individuals in the world,estimated to reach 11 000 births a year. Without intervention, 50–90% of children will die in childhood. However,cost-effective interventions have the potential to reduce childhood mortality by up to 70%.
The effects of SCD are multi-dimensional, ranging from causing high morbidity and mortality, and reducing the quality of life, to imposing a high socio-economic burden on individuals, families and health systems. In the past 12 years, the SCD programme in Tanzania has developed, with local and global partnerships, a systematic framework for comprehensive research that is integrated into providing healthcare, training and advocacy in SCD. This report outlines the approach and achievements of collective initiatives for management and control of SCD in Tanzania.