By Gloria Nansijje
JINJA: Hundreds of residents on Sunday, March, 26, participated in the Sickle Cell Marathon in Jinja to raise awareness for the disease in Busoga and the whole country.
The marathon saw runners competing in the 5km and 10km races in Jinja City. Busoga Kingdom’s second deputy Katuukiro Owek. Osman Ahmed Noor was chief runner.
The run, the first of its kind organised by Raising Hope International, an NGO based in Bukoto, aimed at creating awareness for Sickle Cell disease and was flagged at Jinja Rugby Grounds.
Sickle Cell Disease, also known as SCD, is a crippling blood disease affecting millions worldwide.
According to Owek. Osman, Busoga sub-region has the highest infection rate of Sickle Cell disease in Uganda and contributes 25% of the national burden of Sickle cell in the Country.
He added that according to data, Mayuge district is in lead with high infection rate of Sickle cell disease followed by Kamuli district, all in Busoga sub-region.
He said about 5,000 infants are born with Sickle cell trait annually and called for more awareness and screening services in the region.
Owek. Osman recalled in December 2022 under the auspices of Busoga Health Forum when he fundraised for a Sickle cell screening machine, adding that Busoga sub-region does not have any to date.
Owek. Osman made a humble appeal to all sponsors of the Sickle cell run who included Fort Bet Uganda, Absa bank, Stabex International, Pepsi Uganda, Red cross, NICOSAM Health Center and MUBs, among others, to partner with Busoga Health Forum to see that a Sickle Cell screening machine is purchased for Busoga.
Owek. Osman further called upon the media houses in Busoga particularly radios to carry out sensitization to see that people get to know the disease and how to prevent it.
Isaac Okello, the Executive Director of Raising Hope International, said proceeds will go towards purchase of Hydroxyurea and Point of Care Machines.
He added that Point of Care Machines play a very pivotal role when it comes to care and treatment for people living with Sickle Cell disease.
Okello said increased advocacy and mass sensitization will continue across the country to reach the masses.
Winners of the 5km and 10km run were awarded with medals plus prizes which included phones. Sponsors of the run were given certificates of appreciation.