The Sickle Cell Unit

The Sickle Cell Unit (SCU) has blazed an impressive trail over the years in research and clinical work to prolong life and survival of people with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), and advocating on the issues of Newborn Screening for SCD as a policy imperative for regional populations.

Between 1973 and 1981, the SCU conducted the Jamaica Sickle Cell Cohort Study, that among other findings, demonstrated that 15% of Jamaican adults are at risk of having a child with SCD and that 1 in every 150 Jamaicans are born with SCD.

The data from this seminal Study in Jamaica, informed resolutions by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA (1987), the World Health Organization (WHA59.20, 2006) and the United Nations (A/63/L.63, 2008), which all declared SCD to be a global public health issue.

The SCU has placed SCD Newborn Screening island-wide as a priority on its research agenda, in keeping with the National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Disease in Jamaica (2013-2018).