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It's Black History Month. Let's celebrate.
Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada Remembers The First Black Hematologist with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)
It's Black History Month and while there continues to be numerous debates around the necessity of setting a month aside to recognize the contributions of Black Canadians; SCDAC is pleased to preserve and honour the memory of Dr. Ade Olujohungbe. He is the first and only known Canadian hematologist who lived with SCD.
About Dr. Olujohungbe: A graduate of King's College Lagos, he went on to study Medicine at University College Hospital, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He pursued more specialized study in the United Kingdom in Internal Medicine (1989), Hematology (1999), and Pathology (2006). During this process he received a PhD (Doctor of Medicine) from University of Birmingham for critical illuminating research on multiple myeloma in 1999. Diagnosed at an early age with sickle cell disease (SCD), he chose to not only become a doctor but one who devoted his life to combating and containing the disease1.
In Canada, he embarked on different projects to positively impact the Winnipeg SCD community until his death in 2013.
What is Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition that results in an abnormality of haemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen within red blood cells. This abnormal haemoglobin can lead to red blood cell deformation and break down, increased blood viscosity or “sludginess”, and both acute and chronic organ dysfunction. Typical manifestations in patients with sickle cell disease include:
•Severe pain episodes due to bone marrow necrosis
•Susceptibility to infections
•Increased risk of stroke and vision loss
•Need for frequent blood transfusions
•Reduced life expectancy of approximately 30 years compared to normal population.
Because sickle cell disease is considered the quintessential “multi-system disease”, patients often require comprehensive care to prevent and manage complications
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in Canada:
In Canada, an estimated 5000 individuals are living with sickle cell disease, and although incidence will vary among provinces, up to 1 in every 2500 babies will be born with it. Canadians of South American, Indian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, African, Native Americans, Turks and Caribbean heritage are affected by sickle cell disease. While many do not have the disease, a large portion has the sickle cell trait which may be passed to future births.