NHS Expert Briefs West Londoners on Sickle Cell Anaemia

blood disorders, Christian faith, sickle cell disorder, work of the church,

Monday 4th November 2013

A multi-cultural audience of 50 from Southall and nearby areas came to hear Dr Annette Gilmore an NHS specialist in blood disorders speak at the UCKG HelpCentre in Southall on October 26th.

The aim was to promote awareness of sickle cell, thalassaemia and other genetic blood disorders in the local community and among UCKG HelpCentre members. While it is widely believed that people of African and Caribbean descent are more often affected by sickle cell anaemia than other ethnicities, the fact is that anyone can inherit these conditions.

As senior manager for the registry of genetic blood disorders in Europe, working for North West London NHS Hospitals, Dr Gilmore was impressed by the way the event brought the subject into the community.

She said: “This event helps me do my job. I noticed that the audience felt very relaxed and approachable and was very much engaged. I’m very impressed by the work of the church and would be willing to do more sessions if requested.”

The event was hosted by the Southall HelpCentre’s Patient Care Group, with its leader Chris Browne as MC, assisted by his deputy, Hazel Browne.  Those attending were aged from 14 to 65; and they clearly felt the benefit.

Eunice Fletcher from Southall said that the presentation was: “Well put together, and the language was simplified so all could understand”. Sonia Simon from Northolt was reassured as was Alicia Usherwood from Chiswick, who would like to see the event repeated.

West African Michael Kofi from Feltham found the event helpful as he was unaware of sickle cell disorder in his community, and, will be sharing what he learnt with others. Both Darren Dantas of Hayes and Raj Newalker from Southall recognised the value of being checked for the condition.

Literature and DVDs were supplied by NHS England; while the Southall Patient Care Group provided an array of tasty buffet style refreshments and drinks for attendees and were on hand to give any assistance or support needed.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood condition that affects the shape of victims’ red blood cells and can result in severe pain, mostly in the joints (thalassaemia is another genetic blood disorder).

ENDS

Notes to editors

UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort and welcomes all-comers. It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith. There are UCKG HelpCentre branches in England and Wales.

Patient Care Group is a community support group of generous minded volunteers from the UCKG HelpCentre who are available to lessen the burden of illness on patients and their families by extending the hand of friendship to them. These make regular visits to patients in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes or their own homes and will also be there for the patients’ families if required.

For further information please contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on press@uckgnew.org or direct line 020 7686 6033.

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