As it’s often said, information is power, this is no different when it comes to health. Knowing your health status helps you in your wellness quest and also ensures you live a more wholesome life. This morning dfcu bank conducted a free sickle cell screening session for its employees and also had them donate blood in response to the national blood shortage.
“We are carrying out a screening of our staff for the sickle cell gene because the welfare of our employees and their families is important to us. A lot of their time is spent at work, taking care of the interests of our customers with little time spent planning for themselves and their families. With this screening, those that are not yet in relationships or have children can make informed decisions while those that have children can have them tested to ensure that they don’t have the sickle cell trait,” said Harriet Nabakooza Musoke , Head of Human Capital.
According to the Ministry of Health, 33,000 babies are born annually with the disease of which, 80% die before the ages of 5 years and many die without the doctors and parents knowing the cause of death being sickle cells aneamia. These statistics call for fast intervention through promoting sickle cells screening at birth and at all stages. Sickle cells is an inherited change in the structure of red blood cells in which a mutated form of haemoglobin (Hb) distorts the red blood cells into a ‘sickle shape’. If both parents have the sickle cell trait at each pregnancy, there is a 25% chance that the child will pick the trait from both parents.
“I really appreciate the Bank organizing this session to create awareness because I have been in a situation before where I didn’t know I and my husband were both carriers till our son started having a back problem. It was only later when we took him to the hospital for a checkup and doctors found nothing wrong with his back when they recommended sickle cell screening. It was then that we both found out we were both carriers. At first it was hard to believe because I didn’t know anyone in my family who had sickle cells and we never fell ill, “said Joanita Ssewagudde an employee at dfcu Bank.
In addition to the awareness talk and sickle cell screening, dfcustaff also participated in a blood donation drive carried out at the dfcu Head office in Kyadondo.