Prevalence of heamoglobin genotype screening and awareness of SCD among undergraduate students of Unilorin
Nigeria has the highest number of homozygous sickle cell disease (HbSS) in the world with a prevalence of 1.3%. About a quarter of Nigerian populations (24%) are carriers of the mutant gene (HbAS) and annually about 150, 000 children are born with sickle cell anemia. This study aimed at determining the prevalence of sickle cell disease (SCD) and factors affecting the acceptance and practice of premarital genotype screening among Undergraduates of University of Ilorin, Nigeria. This descriptive cross sectional survey was carried out amongst 440 newly admitted undergraduates of University of Ilorin during the 2014/ 2015 academic year recruited using multi-stage sampling method. Data was gathered using a semi-structured selfadministered questionnaire and the respondents' genotypes were determined by the use of an electrophoresis machine (electrophoresis equipment model MUPID-EXU Japan). Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16 software package. A p - value ≤ 0.05 was considered significant at 95% confidence level.The ages of the respondents ranged from 15 to 34 years with a mean age of 19.05 ± 2.61 years. Slightly more than half of the respondents (53.0%) had normal haemoglobin genotype HbAA while about 32.7% were carriers of the abnormal haemoglobin gene (HbAS). The prevalence of SCD was 7.8%, 6.2% and 1.3% for HbAC, HbSS and HbSC respectively. Even though majority of the respondents (72.3%) had fair knowledge of the disease, only a quarter (28.2%) of them had ever done their genotype test prior to the study. Factors that positively influenced respondents' practice of premarital genotype screening included; age, being married, parental educational background and being in science-related field.The prevalence of SCD is high among the study population and the knowledge and practice of premarital haemoglobin genotype is still unpopular. There is the need for continuous health education on the disease in relation to the pivotal role of premarital genotype screening in its prevention.
Keywords: Genotype screening, SCD, Awareness