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Our Current Projects

Sickle Forward is working on multiple newborn screening and follow-up clinical management projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa.  A few of these ongoing projects are highlighted below.

Rapid Newborn Screening

Sickle Forward uses the HemotypeSC point-of-care screening test (Silver Lake Research, CA) in our partner programs.  This test has been extensively studied and is known to have high sensitivity and specificity when directly compared to lab testing methods (HPLC/IEF) in Africa, India, and other global regions.  The test is extremely rapid, with availability of results within 10 minutes!  The allows a family to be notified of their infant's diagnosis of SCD before leaving the hospital and facilitates rapid integration into the important clinical follow-up programs that we partner with.

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Routine Treatment

Sickle Forward partners with Koutiala Hospital in rural Mali to systematically screen all newborns for SCD.  The test uses 1 drop of blood from a heel stick  and does not require any expensive reagents or other consumables.  Although the test costs <$2 per infant, it would still be out of reach of most Malians who live on less than that amount each day to cover all of their expenses.  More than 20,000 infants have been screened at Koutiala Hospital since 2011!  The newborn screening and symptomatic testing of children and adults is ongoing at the hospital through funds donated to Sickle Forward.  Under the supervision of a Malian advanced nurse, patients with SCD receive life-saving treatment with antibiotic prophylaxis, malaria prevention, immunizations, and disease modification with hydroxyurea.

Large-scale Screening

Sickle Forward recently initiated a large-scale, grant supported newborn screening program for infants born at multiple hospital sites throughout Mali and Togo.  The project, launched in Oct 2023, directly partners with the national SCD programs in each country and has a bold aim of a collective 100,000 infant screens over 2 years!  Once diagnosed, these infants will have access to life-saving treatment.  Additionally, data gathered will be used to further important sustainability discussions with health officials in each country.

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