Dougherty County students get sickle cell screening -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty County students get sickle cell screening

October 21, 2004

Albany-- In the United State more than 70,000 people suffer from sickle cell anemia it's a disease the affects blacks more than others.

The problem is many people don't know they are the carriers of the genetic disease and never get tested. Now one state health group is trying to change that by offering free sickle cell screening for the students in Dougherty County.

When students at Albany Middle School lined up to take yet another test their reaction was what you might expect.

"They said they don't want to take it," says one student.

The students won't get a grade but the blood tests they are taking will bring them one step closer to learning if they are carriers of sickle cell anemia.

"If you get the information that you are a carrier then you will know if you marry someone that is also a carrier that's puts your child at a higher risk for getting the disease," says Beverly Sinclair a health educator for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.

The foundation plans to use this mobile testing center to offer free screening for sickle cell to every student in Dougherty County.

The group is targeting school systems with large black populations.

"One out of 10 to 12 African Americans carry the sickle cell gene," says Sinclair.

"My mom thought about it and she agreed that I needed to take the test," says one student.

Albany Middle was first school to offer screening to students and about 25% of the parents signed up their kids but officials are hoping the numbers will grow as the program continues.

Parents are mailed the test results for their children about 15 days after the test.

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