“We are very grateful, thank you very much TUM experts for the awareness. These are the good things we have been lacking for many years….having a fully fledged University at the door step. ’’ These were the sentiments of Mombasa residents when Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) provided laboratory services to screen for sickle cell disease, presence of Malaria parasites and levels of haemoglogin during the world sickle cell day which was commemorated on 18th June 2016 at the treasury square in Mombasa.
The event started at 10.am by sickle cell awareness charity walk which went round Mombasa city from treasury square, through Moi avenue, Mwembe tayari, Lumumba road, Makupa roundabout, Kenyatta avenue, Digo road roundabout and back to treasury square. TUM team led by the chairman of Medical Sciences department Mr. Kiio Kithome, Cytologist Ms. Nelly Ogada, Haematology specialist Mr. Nyarambe Wigina and Our able technician Joan Sumba gave awareness speeches to the public. After the speeches the screening exercise started.
The Field laboratory was housed in one tent and split into various areas, i.e. phlebotomy, microscopy, counseling, and reception. This helped to provide both diagnostic and medical services to participants under one roof. It was good to see the in-service students take up the roles of mentors to the pre-service students, giving the valuable tips in handling of challenges experienced in profession.
Student Participants from the University included all cadres of medical students (Degree, Diploma and Certificate). The idea was to be able to show case the skills learnt by the older students and to expose the new students to their chosen profession. This helps to encourage them in the noble profession while at the same time creating exposure.
The level of participation was encouraging and the students were at ease with all the tests and the effects of sickle cell disease. Members of the public enjoyed being at the field lab and TUM experts had to turn other people away owing to constraints of time.
The field lab was still open three hours after the event was officially closed at 1.00pm, giving credence to the Laboratorians motto of “we are still looking at you long after everybody else has gone home”!!
The world sickle cell day is celebrated annually during the month of June so as to draw awareness to the sickle cell disease which affects the red blood cells of an individual. This in turn greatly diminishes the quality of life of these individuals hence making them quite dependent on medication and often need blood transfusions.
In a layman’s language Sickle cell disease is a form of anaemia that affects red blood cells. The disease got its name because red blood cells become sickle-shaped (crescent shaped) and it becomes difficulty for blood to pass through. This means less blood reaching areas that need it, leading to tissue and organ damage.