Sickle cell disease (SCD) continues to be a significant yet often overlooked global health crisis, affecting millions worldwide. Annually, countries around the world observe World Sickle Cell Day to raise awareness about this condition. This international awareness day aims to enhance public knowledge and understanding of sickle cell disease, as well as the challenges faced by patients, their families, and caregivers. On this day, various global and local organisations unite to promote awareness campaigns and activities that emphasise the importance of early diagnosis, effective treatment, and preventive measures to manage the disease. From date to history, scroll down to know more about this day. (Also read: Pradosh Vrat in June 2024: Date, shubh muhurat, history, significance and all you need to know )

Every year on June 19, World Sickle Cell Day is observed. (Freepik)

World Sickle Cell Day 2024: Date and Theme

Every year on June 19, World Sickle Cell Day is observed, and this year it falls on Wednesday. The theme for this year’s observance is “Hope Through Progress: Advancing Sickle Cell Care Globally.” This theme underscores the importance of unity, collective voices, and heightened awareness to reduce stigma and bring about meaningful change for the millions affected by sickle cell disease.

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History of World Sickle Cell Day

Recognised by the United Nations (UN), World Sickle Cell Day aims to raise global awareness of sickle cell disease. A resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 22, 2008, recognised sickle cell disease as a public health problem and “one of the world’s most important genetic diseases”. The resolution urges Member States to promote sickle cell disease awareness nationally and internationally on June 19 each year.

World Sickle Cell Day Significance

World Sickle Cell Day is a significant occasion as it raises awareness by educating the public about sickle cell disease (SCD), its symptoms and the challenges faced by patients, as the disease can be relatively unknown outside affected communities. It also provides a platform for advocacy, enabling SCD organisations and patient advocates to lobby for increased research funding, improved access to healthcare and better treatment options. In addition, it promotes community building by bringing together patients, families, healthcare professionals and researchers to share experiences, support each other and celebrate advances in research and treatment.

What is sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder caused by a mutation in the hemoglobin gene, leading to the production of abnormal hemoglobin S. This results in rigid, crescent-shaped red blood cells that can obstruct blood flow. Symptoms include severe pain episodes (sickle cell crises), anemia, fatigue, swelling in hands and feet, frequent infections, and delayed growth in children. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing complications, including pain relief medications, blood transfusions, and hydroxyurea to reduce crises. In severe cases, a bone marrow transplant may offer a cure.

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