Nigeria is the most populous country in sub Saharan Africa and provides the largest telecommunication market in Africa, with over 100 million phone lines and over 85% of urban dwellers having at least one personal phone. These phone lines are widely deployed for making financial transactions, browsing the internet and recording daily activities. There remains, however, a huge gap in harnessing this technology for improving health care of the population. With an estimated annual delivery of over 150, 000 newborn babies with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), Nigeria is home to the largest number of children affected by this condition, globally. In this application, we propose the use of mobile electronic platforms to improve diagnosis and tracking of children with SCD at a location with the highest disease burden in the country. From our established platform for surveillance for serious bacterial infections in young children, we have confirmed the contribution of SCD to morbidity and mortality at this location. Using this platform we will evaluate a new point-of-care diagnostic with digital transmission of results to a central database and cellphones for subject tracking to improve the turnaround time for diagnosis, specialist clinic registration and subject tracking with the ultimate goal of providing a platform that can be scaled up for a robust national surveillance program for SCD care.
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited genetic disorder of the red blood cells with a multi-systemic manifestation and highest disease burden in Nigeria, where over 150,000 babies are born annually but less than 50% of these survive beyond the first 5years of life due to severe infections. In the United States and Europe survival of SCD patients is almost comparable to non-affected persons due to early diagnosis and implementation of preventive care. A similar approach of early diagnosis and preventive care that is based on the local epidemiology of infections and culturally acceptable strategies can be implemented in Nigeria and other settings in sub Saharan Africa.