Minister of Health, Donville Inniss??

World Sickle Cell Day will be observed this Sunday, June 19.

To mark the occasion, The Hope Foundation, a partner of Government in the fight against the disease, will recognise the occasion with an Orange Ribbon Drive on Saturday June 18, in Jubilee Gardens, Bridgetown.

The event, which runs from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., will seek to make patrons aware of sickle-cell anaemia in order to "bring the disease out of the shadows" and help improve the quality of life for people living with it.??

Along with the distribution of orange ribbons and wrist bands that symbolise one’s awareness of the illness, the Foundation will provide literature in the form of pamphlets and brochures to patrons.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss is expected to attend, along with other health care providers and officials of his Ministry.

According to President of the Hope Foundation, Shelly Weir, "Sickle-cell anaemia is one of the world’s most common but misunderstood health problem," and she urged families to also use the occasion to raise awareness of the illness.

A debilitating genetic blood disorder, sickle-cell anaemia causes the body to produce abnormal, sickle-shaped red blood cells and is particularly common among people with ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa, India and other regions where malaria was, or remains common.

In 2008, Congo, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and some 21 other countries co-sponsored a resolution adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly that called for the recognition of sickle-cell anaemia as a public health problem and "one of the world’s foremost genetic diseases".?? It urged member states and the UN system to raise awareness of the disease each year on??June 19, at the national and international levels.??

In 2009, a century after the discovery of the illness, the United Nations designated June 19 as World Sickle Cell Day.

The first recorded case of sickle cell disorder is that of Grenadian Walter Clement Noel who was born in June 1884 and died in May 1916. ??He was educated here in Barbados, at Harrison College. ??

Members of the public are urged to attend the Orange Ribbon Drive and may obtain more information on sickle cell disease by contacting the Hope Foundation at 437-8781.


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