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The prevalence of Sickle Cell Trait among adolescents in Bungoma county, Kenya

E.K Watenga
J.J Songok
C.N Tenge


Background information: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder that affects the haemoglobin (Hb) molecule. Interventions for SCD needs to be supported by local data.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of sickle cell trait (HbAS) among adolescents in Bungoma County.
Methods: Public health education on SCD control was offered to adolescent students in 9 schools. Eligible participants were selected randomly from the school registers and consented. Pre-test counselling was done followed by testing for sickle cell gene status using a point of care device (The Sickle scan™). Post-test counselling was offered. Demographics characteristics and test results were documented. Proportions and Percentages were used to describe categorical data, Mean and Median for continuous data. Logistic regression was done and risk ratios (RR) generated. Pearson chi square was used to test for associations. Level of significance was set at P value <0.05 with Confidence interval at 95%.
Results: A total of 225 eligible participants consented for testing; Males: 116(51.6%), Females: 109(48.4%). The median age was 17 years (range 13- 19). HbAS prevalence was 18.7% (42) (CI 0.14-0.24). Proportion of males with HbAS was 24/116(20.7%); proportion of females with HbAS was 18/109(16.5%). Proportion of HbAS among students with known family history of SCD was 6/12 (50%). There were no adolescents with HbSS, HbAC, HbCC, HbSC. Those with Family History of SCD were three times more likely to have HbAS. (RR-2.958, p value-0.004, CI:1.561-5.607)
Conclusion: Prevalence of HbAS among adolescents is high for intervention for SCD to be put in place.

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