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To test or not: occurrence of sickle cell trait and assessment of the awareness toward its screening among patients attending Magale Health Center IV, Namisindwa District, Eastern Uganda

Authors Mandu K, Tusuubira SK, Mwambi B, Webbo F, Atuhairwe C, Taremwa IM

Received 14 June 2018

Accepted for publication 24 July 2018

Published 21 November 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 219—225


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin Bluth

Keneth Mandu,1 Sharifu K Tusuubira,1,2 Bashir Mwambi,1 Fred Webbo,3 Christine Atuhairwe,4 Ivan Mugisha Taremwa1

1Institute of Allied Health Sciences, Clarke International University, Kampala, Uganda; 2Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation, Kampala, Uganda; 3Lancet Laboratories, Kampala, Uganda; 4Institute of Public Health and Management, Clarke International University, Kampala, Uganda

Purpose: To evaluate the occurrence of sickle cell trait (SCT), assess patient awareness and evaluate the performance of a sickle cell hemoglobin-S (dithionate-qualitative solubility) point-of-care test among patients seeking care at Magale Health Center IV, Namisindwa District, Eastern Uganda.
Materials and methods: We conducted a cross sectional study, in which we consecutively enrolled participants aged ≥18 years at Magale Health Center IV. Four milliliters of EDTA blood were collected by venipuncture and screened for SCT using solubility testing, and confirmed with hemoglobin (Hb) electrophoresis at Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL), Kampala, Uganda. A structured questionnaire was used to assess participants’ awareness of SCT. Data were presented as proportion, and measurements of diagnostic test performance were calculated.
Results: We enrolled 242 participants, of these 58.7% (N = 142) were females. Their mean age was 26.4 years (range 18–49). Of the 242 participants, 11, who represent 4.5% (95% CI: 3.3–5.9), tested positive. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of the rapid sickle cell test were 63.64%, 100%, 100% and 98.30%, respectively. There was knowledge gap regarding sickle cell awareness.
Conclusion: The occurrence of SCT was high, and the point-of-care test showed a high diagnostic reliability. The risk of SCT is associated with genetic predisposition as indicated by Hb electrophoresis. Community sensitization is key to avert the associated risk of Hb defects.

Keywords: sickle cell trait, point-of-care testing, Uganda

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