Effect of malaria on the outcomes of sickle cell phenotypes in a semi-nomadic population

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Baffa A. Gwaram *
Mahmood M. Dalhat
Muhammad Hamza
Zaiyad G Habib
Musa M. Bello
Ahmad M. Yakasai
Aisha H. Sadauki
Hauwa Aliyu
Zira G. Vandi
Faruk Sarkin-Fada
Kamilu M. Karaye
Abdulrazaq G. Habib
(*) Corresponding Author:
Baffa A. Gwaram | baffagwaram@npmcn.edu.ng

Abstract

Studies have shown that malaria contribute significantly to mortality among infants and children with Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA). The nomadic lifestyle of the Fulanis make access to health care difficult and exposure to malaria high. We conducted a cross sectional study among consenting members of a semi-nomadic Fulani population in Nigeria to determine the impact of malaria on the outcome of SCA. On-the-spot malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and hemoglobin electrophoresis were done. A total of 229 subjects participated, 100 (43.7%) females. Median age was 35 years (yrs) with range of 15-80 yrs. Hemoglobin AS phenotype was found among 53 (23.1%) subjects; none had hemoglobin SS. A positive malaria RDT was found among 24 (10.5%) individuals. The FGD revealed that majority of the respondents considered malaria as an important cause of ill-health but were not aware of SCA as an important disease. The high prevalences of malaria, hemoglobin AS phenotype, and absent of hemoglobin SS in the community implies the potentially fatal effect of malaria on individuals with hemoglobin SS. A comprehensive intervention to reach this vulnerable population is thus recommended.


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