Bahrains’ sickle cell toll reaches 32
Manama, August 15, 2014
Bahrain registered its 32nd sickle cell death yesterday (August 15) - hours after health officials issued orders to treat patients suffering from the disease as 'high priority'.
Bahraini Hassan Faisal Hamer, 28, died at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) due to complications, making the death toll in the last eight months equal to the total number of fatalities recorded in the whole of last year, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Campaigners are expecting the figure to drastically increase, despite new measures being implemented by the Health Ministry to treat sickle cell patients.
“Last year in total we had 32 deaths among our patients and this year we registered the same number before the year-end,” said Bahrain Sickle Cell Anaemia Patient Care Society president Zakreya Al Kadhem.
“We still have four months to go.”
Bahrain recorded 32 sickle cell deaths last year, 45 in 2012, 32 in 2011 and 35 in 2010.
Al Kadhem, a sickle cell sufferer himself, said a meeting was held between the society and Health Ministry public health and primary care assistant under-secretary Dr Mariam Al Jalahma yesterday, who said patients will be treated as emergency cases from now on.
“Sickle cell patients will be treated as emergency cases without waiting for their treatment,” said a ministry statement.
“Once sickle cell patients walk into Salmaniya Medical Complex's Accident and Emergency department, he or she will first be checked by a nurse and then a doctor, who has to diagnose his condition.
“Sickle cell patients at the Hereditary Blood Disorder Centre will also be treated based on the degree of their pain followed by which they will be administered medications.
“In case, the patient returns to the centre because there is no improvement in his health, then the case will be referred to SMC Accident and Emergency.”
It also said that during official holidays sickle cell patients can visit their nearest health centres, where they will be transferred to the hereditary centre, if required.
The GDN yesterday reported that the ministry scrapped a protocol that forced sickle cell patients to wait eight hours before being administered morphine, following a meeting between the society and Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi.
The protocol was implemented last year after 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.
A ward at SMC has been dedicated for female patients suffering from the illness.
People with sickle cell anaemia have abnormal haemoglobin molecules and there is no known cure for the condition, which can often be extremely painful. It decreases life expectancy and increases the risk of life-threatening complications.- TradeArabia News Service