Perception, attitude and knowledge of sickle cell anaemia among students of a Nigerian University.
Background: There is a high prevalence of the S gene in the African population. The economic, social and psychological burden the disease possesses on sufferers and caregivers necessitates fundamental knowledge of the disease.
Methods: A total of 500 students (male=340, female=160; mean age, 24±4.5 years) drawn from various faculties and departments and different study levels in University of Benin, Nigeria were studied. This cross-sectional study was conducted between January 2006 and September 2006. Data were collected using a questionnaire containing both open and close ended questions developed by the authors. Data were analyzed descriptively.
Results: A majority of the respondents (82.6%) had an appropriate knowledge of the clinical characteristics peculiar to sickle cell anaemia. Respondents attitudes towards positive haemoglobin SS foetus was no termination of pregnancy (45.2%) with religious convictions (32.6%) and right to life (21.2%) as the main reasons given. Avoidance of suffering (50.8%) both to the carrier and caregiver was the main reason given in favor of therapeutic abortion.
Conclusions: The need for increased enlightenment cannot be over emphasized. It is recommended that genetic counseling be made a vital aspect of the curriculum irrespective of faculties/departments of admission as a means of controlling the sickle cell disease.
Keywords: Sickle cell anaemia, Perception, Attitude, Knowledge, Nigeria