Interview with Selina Caroline Achieng’ Olwanda, Chairperson, Children’s Sickle Cell Foundation, Kenya

No Reliable SCD Statistics in Kenya

Selina Caroline Achieng’ Olwanda, 44 and an MBA in Strategic Management is Chairperson, Kenya Sickle Cell Foundation. In this interview with Titi Aladei, she says there are no reliable figures on SCD statistics in the country.

The Children Sickle Cell Foundation – Kenya (CSCF) is an independent not-for-profit community based organization. It is run by members living with and those taking care of persons with sickle cell disease. CSCF is run by an experienced and passionate team all volunteers, whose main objective is to create an environment where persons living with SCD can get affordable and accessible medical care.

Selina Caroline Achieng’ Olwanda

Achievements

Our Achievements are:

Yearly commemoration of World Sickle Cell Day since inception in 2009 in Nairobi, Homabay, Busia, Mombasa and other places.

The foundation has also partnered with some institutions to provide tailored services to this group of patients’ i.e. weekly clinics are run in Baraka hospital in Mathare, Homabay, Busia, Port Victoria, Bungoma, Oasis health Group Kisii, Migori and Homabay and just recently partnered with Nyali Health Care Limited. CSCF plans to partner with more facilities to increase the reach.

We lobby for pro-sickle cell disease (SCD) policies with the hope that one day we will have specialized centers run by the government.

We have social media platforms (WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook) on which we share information on a daily basis.

CSCF continues to promote training and awareness creation to the public through many other outlets like schools, churches and any public gathering.

We have had the opportunity to be invited for media interaction and awareness with various media houses.

Continuous outreach activities across Nairobi, Nyanza, Western and Coast Regions targeting schools, churches and medical facilities with the aim of providing as much awareness and information about SCD.

 

Challenges

Lack of regular training for technical and clinical teams. CSCF has partnered with institutions and hence the clinical and technical teams get regular training and updates on the current trends.

Availability and affordability of drugs. Negotiating with pharmacies for best prices for our clients.

Transition from Pediatric to Adult doctors. Still a challenge but at the moment the out patients facilities that we have ensure that we reduce the number of in-patient cases.

Lack of equipment in hospitals.

Wanting technical skills

Ignorance and Stigma. We are giving education to patients to get more informed patients and care givers

Lack of supportive government framework. We are still petitioning the government to implement a national policy in Sickle Cell Management.

 

Kenya SCD Statistics

No reliable statistics. Government needs to come up with a strategic and coordinated policy on SCD as well as provide equal opportunity for all patients to access quality health care across the country.

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