Sickle cell trait in São Tomé e Príncipe: a population-based prevalence study in women of reproductive age

Guilherme Queiroz, Celdidy Monteiro, Licínio Manco, Luís Relvas, Maria de Jesus Trovoada, Andreia Leite, Celeste Bento

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Abstract

Background: Sickle Cell Disorder is Africa’s most prevalent genetic disease. Yet, it remains a neglected condition, with high mortality under-five, and a lack of population-based studies in the region. This is the first of its kind in São Tomé e Príncipe, aiming to estimate the prevalence of sickle cell trait and other haemoglobin variants in women of reproductive age and its associated factors. Methods: We conducted a cluster survey in 35 neighbourhoods. Haemoglobin was assessed through point-of-care capillary electrophoresis or high-performance liquid chromatography, and sociodemographic data through questionnaires. The weighted prevalence of sickle cell trait (HbAS) and HbC carriers was estimated with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI). We calculated weighted prevalence ratios (95% CI) through robust Poisson regression for its association with age and individual and collective genetic heritage. Findings: The prevalence of sickle cell trait in women of reproductive age in São Tomé e Príncipe (n = 376) was 13.45% (95% CI: 9.05-19.00). The prevalence of HbC carriers was 8.00% (95% CI: 4.71-12.00). Older age and speaking Forro or Angolar were positively associated with having sickle cell trait. Interpretation: The prevalence of sickle cell trait in São Tomé e Príncipe ranks high in the West African region. The country should follow international guidelines, implementing newborn screening and comprehensive healthcare management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number850
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

Keywords

  • Cluster sampling
  • Genetics
  • Haemoglobinopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Sub-saharian Africa

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