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Assessing premarital carrier screening and knowledge about sickle cell disease among university students in oman

Author: 
Dr. Firdous Jahan, Dana Al Baali, Dr. Muhammad A Siddiqui, Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Naeem, Aya Al Rashdi, Tamadhir Al Mahrouqi and Dina Al Hinai
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of genetic diseases which is especially prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions. Pre-marital carrier screening is imperative to control this huge burden of morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study is therefore to assess the level of awareness, knowledge and attitude about Sickle Cell Disease and pre-marital carrier screening among undergraduate students. Methods: This cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted with undergraduate medical and pharmacy students studying in the National University Science and Technology. Ethical approvals were obtained from institutional review committees. Using non-probability sampling technique, study participants were recruited from National University Science and Technology. Data collection was carried out using a structured questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS (IBM SPSS Statistics 24.0). Results: Two hundred and seventy nine (n=279) participants who met the study’s inclusion criteria were participated, of which 27 (9.7%) were males and 252 (90.3%) were females. Majority of study participants (81.4%) were aged between 20-25 years old and single (92.1%). Fifteen percent of the participants were undergraduate pharmacy student and about 85% were medical students. Less than one third (29.1%) of students were tested for SCD earlier, of which 3.8% had SCD and 22.8 had sickle cell trait. Majority were aware of benefits knowing the SCD status in both partners. One third thinks it is hard to convince the partner for screening and 40.5% do not support consanguineous marriage. Conclusion: Medical and pharmacy students have adequate knowledge regarding SCD, however the practices and attitude is not appropriate. The development of multifaceted patient and public health education and screening for the control of SCD by heterozygote detection, particularly during routine premarital medical examinations is needed.

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