Nursing Care in Sickle Cell Disease: Lessons from East Africa

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Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a significant global health concern with considerable public health effects in sub-Saharan Africa. In a region that bears the brunt of SCD and yet hosts the lowest number of skilled human resources for health, coupled with poor infrastructure, it is critical to reexamine how to meet the healthcare and health promotion needs of SCD patients. SCD patients face a myriad of health and social challenges as they transition through various phases of life. The patients experience developmental transitions as they grow from infancy, situational transitions as they take on new roles that may impact or be impacted by SCD and health-illness transitions when they face sudden changes in their health status, such as during sickle cell crisis. This complex situation requires a multiprong approach that takes place within a multidisciplinary environment using contextually relevant evidence-based care. Nurses play an essential role in the prevention and management of SCD, especially in early detection, screening, pain management, monitoring, and delivering health education. Evidently, they are central and critical to the provision of holistic care and health promotion across the continuum in SCD. Evidence shows that nurses are well placed to coordinate care within a multidisciplinary team while providing the relevant linkages as SCD patients undergo various transitions. Using the transitions theory, this chapter examines the role of nurses in SCD and proposes how, even within the realities of the healthcare systems in East Africa, opportunities exist to improve the life and general well-being of SCD patients and their families across the life continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSickle Cell Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa
Subtitle of host publicationBiomedical Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781040011256
ISBN (Print)9781032183671
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


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