Prevalence and burden of Sickle Cell Disease among Undergraduates of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common form of haemoglobin opathy in Nigeria but there is paucity of data for its effects on undergraduate students in universities despite the fact that this population of people suffer more burdens of the disease due to relative lack of parental care and their recently increased educational demand.
Objective: This study examined the prevalence of SCD among undergraduates in Obafemi Awolowo University' Health Centre over a 5 year period. It also explored the burdens (educational, psychological, socio-cultural and financial) of SCD on students with sickle cell disorder as well as the relationship among the variables pain severity, monthly income, the psychological and socio-cultural burden of SCD).
Methods: The study employed a descriptive design. First a retrospective analysis of SCD cases in the total admission for a 5 year period at the University health centre was done. Then an adapted version of the psychosocial pain assessment form was used to assess 4 areas of burden of SCD in the study population. It had two sections with 28 items. Section A of the questionnaire assessed the sociodemographic status of the participants with five items. Section B is a 23 item parts that assess the financial, psychological, educational and socio-cultural burden. 280 sample size was calculated for the study and respondents were purposively selected on the SCD clinic days at the health centre, Snow balling technique was used to identify others not attending clinic. The descriptive and inferential statistics were done using SPSS version 20.
Results: The findings from the study revealed that the prevalence of SCD among the total admission of OAU health centre over the five year period studied was 21.6%. For hospitalization record outside the health centre during school breaks, 24.2% of the respondents discharged against medical advice for financial reasons and 9.8% had a monthly income above N20,000. 68% had significantly severe pain in the last one year. 12.7% had at least two semesters to repeat which they claimed was due to their health challenges. 44% had significant psychological burden while 37.3% have socio-cultural burden. The relationship among the average monthly income, pain severity and reported burdens showed that all the tested variables' p-value was less than 0.05.
Conclusion: The study concluded that OAU undergraduates living with SCD were burdened educationally, psychologically and socio-culturally. The pain severity and monthly income of the respondents shows statistically significant effects on the studied (psychological and socio-cultural) burdens.