Sickle Cell Awareness Day- June 19
Sickle cell disease 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), center (Guatemala, Caribbean islands), and on the South (Brazil, Surinam, Guiana), in Southern Europe (Southern Italy and Sicily, Greece, Turkey).1
It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects nearly 100 million people and over 500,000 are born every year with this severe and invalidating condition and 50% of them will die before the age of 5 years.
The World Health Organization (2006) and the United Nations (2008) have recognized sickle cell disease (SCD) as a global public health priority and in order to raise awareness of the disease designated the 19th day of June every year as World Sickle Cell Day (WSCD).
In Canada, though there is no national sickle cell disease registry, a recent study showed that approximately 35002 individuals in Ontario and 6000 people across the country have the disease. In line with the United Nations’ recommendations, in 2017, Canada passed June 19 as a law making the country the first and only country to legalize the day.
To raise more awareness of June 19 in the province with the largest number of patients in Canada, the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario and the Thalassemia Foundation of Canada sought Hon. Andrea Khanjin and Hon. Rudy Cuzzetto to introduce Bill 255 in recognition of June 19 as Provincial Sickle Cell Awareness Day and May 8 as Provincial Thalassemia Awareness Day.
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