Hon. Joyce Bagala, the Woman MP of Mityana district, is urging prospective parents to undergo testing for sickle cell anemia before deciding to have children. In her advice, she emphasizes that if individuals are found to be carriers of the disease, they should reconsider having children altogether.
Highlighting the hereditary nature of sickle cell anemia, Hon. Bagala stresses that testing is the only way to determine if there is a risk of passing the condition to future generations. If both partners are carriers, the likelihood of having a child with sickle cell anemia increases.
In light of this, she advocates for responsible parenthood by refraining from childbirth if the tests reveal such a genetic predisposition.
Drawing from personal experience, Hon. Joyce Bagala shared how she discovered that her own child had sickle cell anemia when he was around 8-9 months old.
“Test for Sickle Cell Anemia. That is the only way you can prevent the spread of Sickle Cell Anemia. It is hereditary. If you learn that both of you (you and your partner) are Sickle Cell carriers, then give up on childbirth because you are not sure.
It is a probability. Once you and your partner are Sickle Cell carriers, chances are you will have a child that has Sickle Cell Anemia. There is no reason for you to put a child in that much pain,” she emphasized.
Sickle cell anemia is characterized by misshapen red blood cells that break down, leading to complications such as an enlarged and painful spleen, reduced hemoglobin, and potential organ damage.
While the condition can be managed with medication, blood transfusions, and, in rare cases, a bone marrow transplant, it is often fatal. Hon. Joyce Bagala’s advocacy underscores the importance of preventive measures to spare future generations from the challenges associated with sickle cell anemia.