KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND CONTROL PRACTICES OF SICKLE CELL DISEASE AMONG ADULTS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES IN UDU LGA, DELTA STATE, NIGERIA
Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited abnormality of the red blood cell characterised by chronic haemolytic anaemia with numerous clinical consequences. It is important for the family, communities, and institutions to have good knowledge of the condition in order to make informed decisions about their reproductive lives, choice of partner, and related health issues. The study therefore seeks to determine the level of awareness, knowledge, attitude, and control practices of sickle cell disease among the residents of selected communities in Udu Local Government Area.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 400 participants selected using a pretested, self-administered structured questionnaire and analysed using SPSS software, version 25. Ethical approval was obtained from Research and Ethics Committee, Delta State University Teaching Hospital.
Results: The majority of the participants (85%) were aware of sickle cell disease with the main source of awareness being health care workers (37%), followed by the media (20%). However, 97% had a poor knowledge of the disease. In the study, age (p=0.001), marital status, (p=0.014) and level of education (p=0.003) were significantly associated with knowledge of SCD. The majority, 87.8%, had negative attitudes towards people living with SCD. Regarding control practices, 61.8% of the respondents had undergone a genotype test. Most individuals who were Christians, married, and had attained a tertiary level of education had been screened for sickle cell status, and there was a statistically significant association between religion (p<0.001), marital status (p=0.018), level of education (p<0.001) and screening to determine sickle cell status.
Conclusion: Comprehensive knowledge about SCD was found to be low despite high level of awareness among respondents. If SCD control strategies must yield significant results, there is a need to improve knowledge about SCD, especially among rural communities in Nigeria.
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