Psychosocial Care And Adjustment Of Children And Families With Sickle Cell Disease: The Nigerian Perspective
Nigeria is a country with one of the largest number of sickle cell disease (SCD) patients in the world. Many affected children and their families experience many adverse psychosocial effects. Most SCD clinics and other outlets of SCD care in Nigeria focus mainly on the physical well being of affected children with little or no concern about prevention or management of these associated psychosocial complications. This has negative implication for management and manageability of the disease. This paper is aimed at reviewing psychosocial care and adjustment in sickle cell disease with focus on the present status, problems and possibilities in Nigeria. This is a review article on psychosocial care of SCD children and their families, using manual search for literature in library, internet and textbooks. The psychosocial component of the care of SCD patients in Nigeria is still deficient and need to be improved. Major problems of psychosocial care of SCD patients in Nigeria include: insufficient attention to data gathering on problems and coping strategies, inadequate health education and public enlightenment on coping strategies and shortage of trained human resources, social welfare services and infrastructure. Sustained commitment to tackling these problems will upgrade psychosocial care for SCD children and their families in Nigeria. This is achievable if the knowledge and skill of psychosocial care is made available to all groups of health professionals involved in health care delivery to children; with the mental health professionals spearheading the initiative.
Key words: Sickle cell disease, children and family, psychosocial care, adjustment.