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Project information

Infant mortality in Sickle Cell in Sierra Leone

Infant mortality (IM) in Sierra Leone (SL) is high. And because sickle cell anemia (SCA) is a frequent cause of severe illness, it is important to determine its contribution to IM in the country. This pilot project aims to detect SCA newborns in the country & define the clinical outcomes among them

February 2013 - January 2014


  • Need


    There are many factors contributing to infant mortality in Sierra Leone, among which sickle cell anemia is believed to be a major cause. But because the sickle cell status of infants is not usually known, by the time they fall ill due to its complications, appropriate treatment is delayed and babies die unnecessarily. However, if their sickle cell anemia status is known as soon as possible after birth, many of the complications and even death among these babies can be prevented.


    We will test all newborn babies at the main government maternity hospital in Freetown for sickle cell anemia. Babies affected by sickle cell will be placed on a preventive regimen that would include parental education and counselling, prophylactic antibiotics, anti-malarials and vitamins.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Identify sickle cell anemia babies at the main government maternity hospital in Freetown.


    » Test newborns for sickle cell anemia. Then enter affected infants in monthly preventive programme

    What success will look like

    Success will be Identifying at least 20 babies affected by sickle cell anemia and recruiting them into prophylactic programme

  • Impact


    This project will prevent avoidable sickness and death due to sickle cell anaemia among the 20 infants. This proof-of-principle will enable the programme to be rolled out to other hospital in Freetown and then, gradually to the rest of the country, as funds permit. When fully developed, 5000 babies will receive treatment annually


    There is a risk that some of the parents might default in follow-up, but our plan is to make home visits should infants fail to be brought to the clinic for follow-up.


    Donors to this project will receive a monthly email report on the project detailing the ongoing activities and any necessary changes that are made to the project plans

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £50,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £40,000 Equipment Used for testing infant blood samples
      £4,000 Personnel For executing collection and monitoring
      £6,000 Supplies Lancets, Receptacles and transport
  • Background


    Freetown is the capital city of Sierra Leone, a country where infant mortality is one of the highest in the world. The city is home to about 2 million people, the vast majority of whom are very poor and among whom the prevalence of sickle cell disease is high. Besides, there are numerous environmental challenges including bacterial infections, malaria and poor nutrition that worsen health outcomes among all children, especially those with sickle cell anemia.


    The immediate beneficiaries of the project will be the children identified with sickle cell disease and their families, who will be spared the sickness and death of their children. The wider community will also benefit, in that testing of all babies born at the maternity hospital will provide a platform for information and education on this public health problem

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been looking after sickle cell disease patients and their families since 1992 and have developed significant community liaisons as well as experience in managing children and adults with the disease.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mrs Amelia Gabba, SRN, SCM, MPH,

    Mrs Gabba, a certified nurse, midwife and public health professional, will have hands-on supervision over the project

    Dr Gibrilla Fadlu-Deen, MB BS

    Dr Fadlu-Deen, an experienced physician is the main referral physician for sickle cell disease patients and will be the project medical director

    Dr George T Roberts, MB, FRCPC,

    The project will be under the overall technical supervision of Dr Roberts, an experienced haematologist