Influence of gender on quality of life of paediatric patients with sickle cell disease attending a referral hospital in western Kenya; A preliminary analysis
Background and objectives: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a hereditary blood disorder common in many malaria endemic regions. It is associated with high childhood morbidity and mortality, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study set out to assess the gender related differences in clinical presentation of SCD in children.
Methods and study design: This was a cross-sectional survey conducted at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH). Forty children under 13 years of age with S.C.D, and their guardians were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data was analysed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.
Results: Forty children, mean age 6.78 years participated in the study. Males were diagnosed earlier than females, 35 months vs 39 months. All the children had poor health related quality of life (HRQOL), with females having worse scores in all domains (physical, emotional, social) except school functioning. Almost all children were anaemic (97.5%), males having a mean haemoglobin level of 6.8 ± 2.5 g/dl compared to females 6.3 ± 1.8 g/dl. Females had more annual episodes of pain crises (3.42 vs 2.38) and hospital admissions (2.75 vs 2.00) compared to males.
Conclusions and recommendations: SCD negatively impacts the HRQoL of sicklers especially females, who are usually diagnosed later compared to males. More studies should be done to assess gender differences in SCD related morbidity in children.