The Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) has commissioned a generational high-tech machine to ease treatment for sickle cell anaemia.
The treatment option also known as red blood cell exchange (RBC) or apheresis comes as a big ray of hope for patients suffering from sickle cell anaemia, a condition which comes with periodic episodes of pain, also known as pain crises.
According to JCRC Director Dr. Daniel Muyanja, the procedure is still exclusively performed at their Centre but in the near future they will be able have the equipment reach elsewhere to better lives of more Sickle cell patients.
Apheresis is a non-surgical therapy that draws out abnormal red blood cells and replaces them with healthy ones derived from blood donors. Dr. Muyanja said the therapy is mainly used to treat complications of sickle cell disease and through the RBC procedure a patient can lose up to 70% of deficient cells.
In sickle cell disease, red blood cells are abnormal in shape and do not travel well through small blood vessels, which can deny tissues oxygen access. With at least 19 patients having beneﬁted from the new procedure so far, there lies a new hope for many others to lead normal lives and cut the mortality of patients
Muyanja said the cost for the procedure is between UGX2m and UGX3m per session. However, JCRC is trying to get partners to subsidise the cost and make treatment affordable for more Ugandans.
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