Imagine being in excruciating pain, constantly worn out and exhausted. That’s what it feels like living with sickle cell anaemia, an inherited blood disease.
Ama Nyarko Attafuah Quainoo, 49, has had the disease for nearly five decades and says life has never been the same since she was a young child.
However, the mother of two says she has no regrets about having sickle cell illness because it has given her the opportunity to help others.
Living with sickle cell disease for 49 years and marrying for seventeen years is a testament to how the disease fosters unity and love among patients’ partners.
“It has never been easy growing up. But I have much to be grateful for,” she said
Mrs. Attafuah-Quainoo works at Kumasi Senior High Technical School as a teacher.
For the past 24 years, she has taught a variety of disciplines.
Even though she struggles to keep in shape, she also ensures that the lives of others, such as her students, are properly molded for a better society tomorrow.
Mrs. Attafuah-Quianoo has had to use creative methods to modify kids’ conduct for the better in the past.
She gave the example of a student who bullied both teachers and students. Mrs. Attafuah-Quianoo said their Business Management teacher at the time, had to hire the student as a bodyguard to keep him in class.
“I got to know it early in life and have been managing it.”
Despite the diligent management of her illness and nutrition, difficulties occur.
People with sickle cell illness have vivid descriptions of pain crises, but Attafuah-Quainoo refuses to let the affliction limit her.
She is thankful for many things in her life, including her loving family and supportive colleagues at work.
She has found an enduring love and stays hopeful that what she is made of will not shatter her into pieces despite the uncertainties surrounding cultivating relationships, including marriage.
Mrs Attafuah-Quianoo expressed her sorrow at the death of a sickle cell patient friend during the 2020 lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He had the most severe sickle cell illness, according to her, with skin cancer strewn across both legs.
Peter Attafuah-Quainoo, her 53-year-old husband, admires her strength, endurance, and promise.
He claims that he has no regrets about marrying her because it is a privilege to marry such a lovely woman.
Sickle carriers include her 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.
They have no regrets about their situation.
“My husband is AA so both of them are carriers. Sometimes, my son complains of pain around his wrist and feet.”
According to statistics, 300 million people worldwide have sickle cell traits. Sickle cell disease affects 6,400,000 people worldwide, with 300,000 children diagnosed each year.
With over 200,000 newborns born each year, sickle cell disease is a major public health concern in Africa. According to statistics from 2018, roughly 15,000 (2%) Ghanaian babies are diagnosed with SCD each year.
The number of children born with sickle cell disease is anticipated to increase by 30% globally between 2010 and 2050.
The sickle cell gene was first discovered thousands of years ago in locations where malaria was and is now prevalent. Sickle cell anemia is primarily found among African people.
Due to its origin in Africa, sickle cell anemia mainly affects people of African origin. The sickle cell gene was discovered to have the ability to protect people from malaria.
One normal haemoglobin gene and one sickle cell gene are present in people with sickle cell traits.
People with sickle cell anemia carry two sickle cell genes and are prone to experience sickle cell symptoms.