PREVENTING and managing sickle cell anaemia will be discussed during a major international conference in Bahrain next month.
Thirty-six experts, of which 19 are from Bahrain, will speak at the conference, which will be held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa from February 5 until 7 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Spa.
The conference is being held under the theme, 'Hand in hand towards a better life for sickle cell disease patients', and will tackle the disease, its management and prevention.
A photography exhibition will also be held on the sidelines of the event.
Up to 50 sickle cell patients in Bahrain have also been invited to attend the event, which will include a presentation by Bahrain Sickle Cell Society president Zakriya Al Kadhim.
It comes after nearly 50 sickle cell patients died from complications in Bahrain last year.
Health Ministry assistant under-secretary for hospitals and organising committee head Dr Ameen Al Saati said the conference will promote health and improving the lives of people with blood diseases.
He was speaking at a Press conference held at the ministry's headquarters in Juffair yesterday.
"The conference will also provide an interactive forum for participants to discuss important and emerging health issues in different fields including; protocols for pain management, prevention and treatment of opiate addiction and avoidance of causes of death in sickle cell disease," he explained.
"Avoidance of complications such as acute chest syndrome, stroke, renal failure, vascular necrosis will also be in the spotlight.
"Treatments such as hydroxyurea therapy, blood transfusion therapy and surgical management, hematopoietic stem cell transplant, opiate detoxification and rehabilitation will also be addressed."
Dr Al Saati said innovative public health strategies to minimise the occurrence and complications of blood disorders will also be highlighted.
"The conference will be an opportunity to strengthen communication and networking and to share best practices and improve the health of blood disorder populations," he said. "This is the time to unite - to fight these diseases and protect the new generation.
"Thirty-six international, regional and national experts will participate in this conference."
Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) genetic department chairperson Dr Shaikha Al Arrayed said improving services provided to sickle cell patients was a priority.
"We have around 5,000 patients as records state for the past 15 years and not 18,000 as is being claimed," he said.
"Accordingly we are providing patients with the best available services, but that doesn't mean we can advance and develop what's being offered.
"We are also giving a chance for the Bahrain Sickle Cell Society to give their inputs on the situation and its president Zakriya Al Kadhim will be one of the speakers."
She said that organisers wanted families suffering from the condition to take part, but the space was limited. "We will just have 30 to 50 patients taking part and to give an insight on their situations," she added.