Global Activism: couple fights sickle cell disease in Cameroon

December 1, 2011

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(AP/Dick Whipple)
A sickle cell patient is given an injection for pain relief.

A genetic condition, sickle cell disease disproportionately affects those of African descent. Here in the U.S., one out of 12 African-Americans has the sickle cell trait, and one out of 400 contracts the disease.

Dr. Michael Neba is executive director of the Father John Kolkman Sickle Cell Foundation. In their native Cameroon, Michael and his wife Florence recently helped form the first ever international conference on sickle cell disease. It drew experts from diverse fields in North America, Europe and Africa.

The Nebas' objective is to raise awareness of sickle cell and its impact on society — and to disperse the myths that surround the disease. In Cameroon and many parts of Africa, sickle cell carries a deep stigma and is often associated with witchcraft.

 

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