GLOBAL SICKLE CELL DISEASE NETWORK
The Global Sickle Cell Disease Network (GSCDN), is a community of sickle cell disease (SCD) clinicians and scientists committed to clinical care for, and study of, people with SCD globally. Realizing the gap in clinical care, research and education about SCD in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), GSCDN engages SCD experts around the world through a network that supports growth in these areas, particularly in LMICs that shoulder the heaviest burden of SCD.
The GSCDN Secretariat is based at the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, with Dr. Isaac Odame, Section Head, Division of Haematology/Oncology as the Medical Director. Under the leadership of Dr. Odame, the network aims to provide a platform for engagement and dialogue between physicians, healthcare experts and organizations with an interest in advancing the care and research of SCD. The GSCDN also serves as a resource platform for SCD professionals with a strong focus on fostering solutions within LMICs affected by SCD.
SICKLE CELL DISEASE
Sickle cell disease (SCD), an inherited disorder of hemoglobin is one of the most common genetic diseases worldwide. As a result of selection pressure from malaria infection, the disease occurs widely in sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Middle East and some areas of the Indian subcontinent.
In high-income countries with less than 10% of the global burden, over the past few decades, early mortality from SCD has been significantly reduced with 90% of children born with SCD surviving beyond 20 years of age.
In contrast, the World Health Organization (WGO) estimates that under-5 mortality in children born with SCD in low-income countries ranges from
50-80%. Evidence shows that where programs for newborn screening and early intervention for SCD have been piloted in sub-Saharan Africa, mortality rates have drastically diminished, equalling rates in high-income countries.
Migrations of populations from these sites of origin to North America, Brazil, Caribbean, Central America, Europe and Asia account for variable frequencies of SCD across the world. It is estimated that more than 300,000 babies homozygous for the sickle hemoglobin gene are born every year with more than 75% in Africa.