PUBLIC EDUCATIONOur public education efforts include our annual Sickle Cell Awareness Week, seminars at schools & churches and the production of educational material.
Annual Sickle Cell Awareness Week
The SCSFJ stages an annual week of awareness to focus national attention on sickle cell disease and concerns of patients, while also encouraging members of the public to get screened for the sickle cell trait. Since the start of our Annual Sickle Cell Awareness Week in 1993, more Jamaicans have visited the Sickle Cell Unit (SCU) to request the blood test to detect the sickle cell trait and other abnormal haemoglobin.
The Foundation has organised several public education seminars/public meetings that have enjoyed strong attendance.
Our colourful, user-friendly, illustrated booklets, “Get the Facts on Sickle Cell Disease” and the “Teachers’ Guide to Sickle Cell Disease” have been well received by patients, health workers and the general public, both locally and in the Caribbean region.
The lobbying activities of the SCSFJ run parallel with our public education drive, as we seek to influence change through knowledge and action. Some of our successful lobby campaigns include getting the Ministry of Health to start neo-natal screening of all babies islandwide in 1993, the commencement of the pilot programme for the national cord-blood screening programme at the Sickle Cell Unit in 1996, and convincing the Ministry of Health to add sickle cell disease (SCD) to the individual benefits programme of the National Health Fund (NHF) in 2015.