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Research Needed to Treat Sickle Cell Disease in Africa

Most children with sickle cell disease in Africa suffer relentless pain, experience numerous infections and die before their fifth birthday. Although treatments exist, they are not widely available in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70 percent of the world’s children with sickle cell disease are born, according to the WHO. NIH is funding a number of efforts to develop low-cost methods to diagnose the condition and investigate affordable treatments to help reduce the suffering.

Most of the interventions used today for sickle cell disease were produced for wealthy countries with higher health budgets and patients already protected by better nutrition and vaccines against infectious diseases.