Knowledge, Beliefs and Attitude towards Sickle Cell Disease among University Students

  • I B
  • T A
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Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most prevalent genetic disorders among the African descent. SCD is associated with intermittent excruciating pain, increased morbidity and mortality yet has received less recognition in the public domain. There is growing evidence on the need to increase awareness to reduce the disease incidence. This study aimed to elicit student’s knowledge, beliefs and attitude of SCD. Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study design was employed. A total of 380 university students at all levels were invited to participate in the study. Of these, 350 successfully completed the study (response rate, 92.10%). A semi structured questionnaire was used to collect information on participant’s demographic characteristics, general knowledge of SCD, beliefs and attitudes of students towards SCD. Results: Almost all the students were aware of SCD (98.6%) with the main source of information being school (84.6%) and the media (12.6%). Knowledge level of respondents on SCD based on scores revealed a mean score of 9.8 ± 4.2 with 45.1%, 47.8%, and 7.1% for poor, moderate and excellent respectively. Most of the respondents strongly agreed that they feel worried (52.9%) and sympathetic (51.4%) for people affected with SCD. Participants had the belief that it is an inherited disease acquired from parents (48.3%) but not a punishment from God (76.3%). Higher level of education and knowing a relative with sickle cell trait (SCT) or SCD was significantly associated with high knowledge of SCD (p<0.05). Conclusion: In general, there was a limited understanding and inadequate knowledge of SCD among the students particularly on the pattern of inheritance. Results from the study highlight the need for effective public health education on SCT/SCD in trusted sources such as schools, media (radio/Television), health centers and churches. This is necessary to address misconceptions and increase knowledge level as well as understanding of the risks of having a child with SCD to influence personal reproductive options.




I, B., & T, A. (2018). Knowledge, Beliefs and Attitude towards Sickle Cell Disease among University Students. Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education, 08(01).

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