The Hereditary Blood Disorder Centre at SMC.
New hope for sickle cell patients in Bahrain
Manama, August 14, 2014
New measures have been introduced to treat sickle cell sufferers in Bahrain, including scrapping a protocol that forces patients to wait eight hours before being administered morphine and dedicating a ward for women.
They are being implemented by Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi following a meeting between His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and the Bahrain Society for Sickle Cell Anaemia Patient Care, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Society president Zakreya Al Kadhem said the meeting highlighted the increasing number of deaths among sickle cell patients with Bahrain recording 31 fatalities since the start of the year - just one short of the total deaths registered in the whole of last year.
"The Premier immediately directed his officials to contact Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi to arrange a meeting with us and sort out the issue," he told the GDN.
"The minister further agreed to cancel the decision implemented last year that restricts morphine shots to be administered to sickle cell patients. Medics had to wait for a minimum of eight hours between each dose to ease their pain.
"Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) has, with immediate effect, stopped the restriction on morphine injections for sickle cell patients - provided the doses should not be more than 20mg.
"This is according to the international standards as the patient will be given 5mg shots to ease their pain and this process can be repeated by medics.
"It was also decided that ward 63 at the SMC will solely treat female sickle cell patients."
Al Kadhem will meet ministry public health and primary care assistant under-secretary Dr Mariam Al Jalahma today to urge health centres to follow suit in scrapping the decision, which was implemented last year after Mr Al Shehabi said the demand for morphine among sickle cell patients was on the rise with 28,350 doses used monthly by both public and private hospitals.
"This is a big win for us and now we want the new measures implemented at health centres and even the Hereditary Blood Disorder Centre," he said.
"This has all been possible because of the Prime Minister who has even asked the Health Ministry to submit a weekly progress report on this issue."
Meanwhile, the society will submit a complaint against five health centres and several doctors and nurses who refuse to treat sickle cell patients, during today's meeting with Dr Al Jalahma.
Al Khadem said the society documented cases where patients had been denied treatment in two health centres in the Central Governorate, two in the Northern Governorate and one in the Capital.
The GDN reported in February that Bahrain opened a BD4.7 million Hereditary Blood Disorder Centre at SMC, which is the largest of its kind in the region and has the capacity to treat more than 15,000 patients, including 5,000 sickle cell sufferers. - TradeArabia News Service