Aims: To report our experience of neonatal screening for sickle cell disease in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and to discuss the feasibility of neonatal screening in this country.
Methods: Between the years 2000 and 2004, there were about 2341 births in five maternity services in Ouagadougou. These babies were screened for sickle cell disease in a universal screening pilot programme. In 2006, 53 babies born to selected couples were screened. The specimens were collected either by cord blood sampling or from a dried blood spot on filter paper. The screening was performed using an isoelectric focusing technique.
Results: In the first stage (2000–4), the incidence of sickle cell disease was 1:57. In the second stage, six of 53 babies of selected couples were found to have major haemoglobinopathies: one was homozygous for haemoglobin S and five were compound heterozygotes for haemoglobins S and C.
Conclusions: The results suggest that a national screening programme should be implemented in Burkina Faso with effective newborn and subsequent follow-up, but a methodology needs to be developed.
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Funding: This project was supported by a grant from the ‘Commission Universitaire pour le Développement’.
Competing interests: None.