THE UNITED STATES: A MODEL FOR SCD MEDIATION?
There was a point in time when the U.S. mortality for SCD mirrored that of Sub-Saharan Africa today. As the graphic above depicts, in the early to mid 1900s, the life expectancy for SCD-affected individuals in the United States did not exceed the age of 10. It wasn’t until around 1970s, high income countries such as the US have been able to significantly increase life expectancy by adopting universal screening programs as well as biomedical interventions. This has allowed for sickle cell disease to become a manageable illness in high-income countries such as the US, while low-to-middle income countries continue to struggle with high disease burdens (see below).
DISEASE BURDEN COMPARISON (2016)
As per the graphics above, while the mortality rate for children under five in 2016 remained below 5 percent in the United States, this statistic for children in Sub-Saharan Africa was more than 15 times this amount, with a percentage closer to 70. The figure on the right shows major illnesses which contributed to this statistic– Sickle Cell Disease is evidently the most contributing disease. It is no wonder that without access to high-technology biomedical solutions, low-to-middle income regions of the world lack the ability to mediate this disease.