Calabash_Issue 9 Apr. 2014 - Page 100

international Meeting Men at the Africa Centre continued more than 350 babies with sickle cell and around 30 babies with thalassaemia. You can also ask to be tested for the sickle cell gene before you decide to start a family and this can be done via your GP or an NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Centre. Service user Ade Aluko talks about living with sickle cell Calabash Magazine Editor, Bankole Jones at leaflet launch of knowing your status. Having recently had a test himself he says: “We inherit many of our features from our parents – the colour or our eyes and the shape of our nose. Maybe less obviously, we also inherit our genes from our parents. Sickle cell and thalassaemia are blood disorders and can only be passed on from parent to child. Remember screening is not just for women.” Feedback from the evening is now being put together so we can engage men more. We are also planning a special session (around June) called ‘Sickle Cell Disease – a Sierra Leonean Discovery’ so look out for the publicity or contact us for details. About screening The aim of antenatal screening is to identify parents-to-be who are genetic carriers in order to enable them to make informed reproductive choices. If two people who are both carriers have a baby together, there is a 1 in 4 chance that their baby could inherit a condition. The aim of newborn screening is to identify babies who have sickle cell disease and beta thalassaemia major (the most serious form of thalassaemia). This enables them to receive prompt and potentially lifesaving treatment. Newborn screening also identifies babies who are genetic carriers. Each year, the Programme identifies Princess Deun Producer and host of ‘Princess of Arize’ TV show reminds us not to forget the carers Lindsay Benjamin asks where men can get tested for Sickle Cell dissease Further information Emails to Kemi Johnson Useful Websites Cross Section of attendees at Africa Centre event 98 | Calabash Magazine | issue nine