Since July 2011, BIPAI and Texas Children’s Hospital have worked with Chevron Corporation and the Angolan Ministry of Health to develop the Angola Sickle Cell Initiative (ASCI). The mission is to collaborate on a comprehensive sickle cell disease initiative for the provision of screening, diagnosis, care, treatment, monitoring and evaluation, research, capacity building, community mobilization and health professional training in order to contribute to improved general sickle cell awareness and subsequently improved and comprehensive care for affected children and their families. This public-private partnership focuses on newborn screening and treatment for sickle cell disease in Angola at two project sites, Luanda and Cabinda. To date more than 155,000 newborns have been screened for the disease and those diagnosed with sickle cell placed into care and treatment programs.
The ASCI works to improve the diagnosis, care and outcomes for infants and children with sickle cell anemia. Areas of opportunity to engage with the community include direct care of screened newborns and older children in the sickle cell clinic as well as increasing general awareness and improving the knowledge of sickle cell disease among Angolan health professionals. Our involvement at the maternity hospitals includes educational sessions with nursing and medical staff and optimizing the screening rate of newborns at the maternity screening sites.
- Location: Luanda and Cabinda
- Years in Operation: 6
- Services: Sickle Cell screening, care and treatment, education
- Total number of newborns screened: 230, 525
- Total GHC Doctors: 2
- Total Health Professionals Trained: 1,500
In Luanda, our team works at Hospital Pediatrico David Bernardino (HPDB), the largest and only pediatric hospital in Angola. The program provides assistance and care at the sickle cell treatment clinic at the hospital to improve clinical care for children who were not diagnosed at newborns. In addition, the program also works at the sickle cell disease clinic at Hospital Geral dos Cajuerios with 485 patients being followed.
In Cabinda, the program’s main activities take place at the Primeiro de Maio Hospital within the designated sickle cell clinic. The program also provides support to the sickle cell clinic at the Cacongo Municipal Hospital for patients living far from Cabinda city.
- Training & Education
Training and education are key components of ASCI with over 1,500 health care professionals trained since the inception of the program. Doctors, nurses, health center directors, laboratory technicians are trained at both sites on sickle cell disease screening and treatment, sample collection technique, patient counseling and clinical care.
In Cabinda, the program trains students from the local medical school, Universidade Onze de Novembro, by offering one month rotations in the sickle cell disease clinic during their third year pediatrics rotation. To date, more than 50 students have been trained.