Dr. Venee Tubman, a Liberian Medical Doctor specialized to treat sickle cell disease, is scheduled to lead an array of marchers tomorrow, Saturday at program to create awareness on the danger of the disease.
The march will start at 8: a.m. on Tubman Boulevard at the Catholic Junction and end at the Naklee Brisbane Sickle Cell Education Center on 24th Street, Sinkor. It is aimed at educating families about when to seek medical care for the condition, the program organizer said.
The program is organized by Dr. Tubman with support from the Ministry of Health to create the necessary awareness about sickle cell disease, which affects children and adults in Liberia.
In an exclusive interview yesterday with this newspaper, Dr. Tubman’s aunt, Victoria Kahn Kennedy, Consultant to the Minister of Education said Dr. Venee Tubman was barely a year old when her parents fled Liberia for the suburbs of Washington DC, United States of America following the political turmoil of the 1980 coup d’état.
After 27 years, Madam Kennedy said, Dr. Tubman’s work has brought her back to Liberia where she is changing the lives of children by improving their access to pediatric (children) care, and by introducing newborn screening for sickle cell disease; a genetic blood disease that results in abnormal hemoglobin, known as hemoglobin S. It is also a group of blood disorders that is passed along in families, and is common in Liberia where one out of ten people has sickle cell trait. Therefore, she said, their children could be born with sickle cell disease.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sickle cell disease can be managed by simple procedures, including high fluid intake, a healthy diet, folic acid supplementation, pain medication, penicillin prophylaxis and pneumococcal vaccination against infections.
“As a Harvard Medical School instructor in pediatrics and attending physician in pediatric hematology/oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center,” Madam Kennedy said, Dr. Tubman is working in Liberia and Boston to serve children’s health and the physicians who safeguard it.
Meanwhile, tomorrow’s program promises to bring together parents and their children afflicted by the disease as well as other well-meaning Liberians, especially health professionals, who will discuss the danger and or the treatment of the disease.