Nigerian Journal of Clinical Medicine

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Perceptions about Sickle Cell Disease and its Prevention among Undergraduates of Tertiary Institutions in Kano State, Nigeria

S Abubakar, U.M Lawan, M.S Mijinyawa, S.I Adeleke, H Sabiu


Background Nigeria is known to have the greatest number of sickle cell disease (SCD) patients per country in the world. Most of the studies that were carried out in Nigeria on awareness of sickle cell disease come from the southern part of the country. There is variation in the incidence of the disease within Nigeria with a higher incidence of the disease in the Northern Nigeria. Since tertiary institutions in the country have good representation of Nigerian youths, and the fact that the youths are good entry point for interventions aimed at preventing and/or controlling the disease there is the need to determine their knowledge, attitude and perceptions about sickle cell disease and its prevention. Methods Three hundred undergraduate students from Bayero University Kano and Federal College of Education, Kano were selected using a multi-stage sampling technique. Structured selfadministered questionnaires were administered to respondents that agreed to participate in the study to assess their perceptions regarding sickle cell disease and its prevention. Data entry and analysis was done using EPI-Info software. Results Majority (81%) of the respondents fell within the age group 15-24. School teachers and lecturers constituted the major source of information (49%), and only 17% of the respondents got their information about SCD from health workers. Most of the respondents, 219 (73%), chose inheritance from parents as the correct way of SCD transmission. Up to 27.3% of respondents had poor knowledge of SCD prevention, and there was a statistically significant association between gender, religion and marital status with good level of knowledge of SCD and its prevention. Conclusions There is a deficiency in the perceptions about sickle cell disease and its prevention among undergraduates of tertiary institutions in Kano. There is a need to provide health education about SCD prevention to youths in schools and through other media; as well as strengthen prenatal screening and premarital counseling and testing services. This should include the counseling of affected individuals and their education on their condition.

Keywords: Perceptions, Sickle cell disease, Nigerian youths, Pre-marital counseling and testing
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