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By Moses Kaketo

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A few years ago, Sickle cell Network Uganda set up a Whatsapp group, a network of warriors and caretakers around Africa. The Network is indeed changing lives through sharing experiences and better management practices for Sickle Cell patients.

Bonita Beatrice Nanziri’s story

A close friend usually goes on business trips in Australia. She leaves me with her nine-year-old son who is battling with Sickle Cell. She usually takes me through on what to do in times of crisis.

‘‘But on this particular night, I wake up at 4:00 am in the night and the little boy is struggling in pain. As usual, I first administer the painkillers. I also ask him where the pain is and I massage a little bit. Ten minutes later the boy is still screaming in pain. I was not beaten.’’

Also read: How a mobile Phone Sickle Cell diagnosis was born

I remembered I subscribe to the Whatsapp group for Sickle Cell. I quickly logged in and posted.

‘‘I am with Jerome and he is having a bad crisis. I have administered a painkiller, massaged, but nothing is happening.’’

The responses start flowing

‘‘Susan in Kenya is awake. She replies and asks me to explain what exactly is happening.’’

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Racheal in Zambia responds too: ‘‘make him lie down, give him hot water, and distract him. And when he finally falls asleep, the pain will go’’

I do exactly as am told.

‘ ‘ Moments later, Jerome is fine and I am up doing my work”-says Nanziri who is also the Team Leader of afriGal Tech, a Mobile Phone based Sickle Cell diagnosis tool.

She adds that in the morning, Jerome was fine and you could not say he had a problem at night.

That is a typical example of how ICT is improving healthcare in Uganda and across the globe.


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