Through advocacy of the Sickle Cell Disease International Organisation (SCDIO), the support of the Republic of Congo and the Republic of Senegal, and the commitment in the scientific world, the African Union (in 2005), the UNESCO (2005), WHO (2006), and the United Nations (2008) recognized sickle cell disease as a public health priority.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has started work to promote a world wide agenda to address hemoglobin dysfunctions. The 19 of June, has been chosen to celebrate every year the World Sickle Cell Day in order to raise awareness of the disease in the world.
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is the most frequent genetic disease worldwide. It is present on four continents: in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Maghrib, in Asia (Middle-East, Arabic peninsula, India), in the Americas, on the North (USA), centre (Guatemala, Caribbean islands), and on the South (Brazil,Surinam, Guiana), in Southern Europe (Southern Italy and Sicily, Greece, Turkey). It is estimated that 500.000 are born every year with this severe and invalidating condition and that 50% of them will die before the age of 5 years. Trans-continental, SCD is also trans-ethnic and affects black populations from African origin and Arabic, Indian and Caucasian populations from Southern Europe.
The World Sickle Cell day is celebrated across the globe with special emphasis in African Nations and Asia. The celebrations include a press, media campaigns, music shows, cultural activities, and talk shows.
The main emphasis is hence on educating medical professionals, care givers, and associated personnel about prevention, research, and resources to minimize the complications due to sickle cell disease. Hence June 19th is devoted mainly to spread awareness, through talks, seminars, pamphlets, literature and consultations.