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President of the St. Lucia Sickle Cell Association, Paula Calderon, is extremely concerned over the Ministry of Health’s decision to halt the newborn Sickle Cell disease (SCD) screening pilot project being sponsored by the SickKids Caribbean Initiative (SCI) .

It is a recently instituted new method of testing for Sickle Cell Disease using a newborn heel prick with blood spots on filter papers shipped to Jamaica for testing .

She is claiming that the termination of the project  was done without consultation with the SCI SCD Working Group which includes - besides the SCI specialists - local physicians and nurses, lab managers and the Association.

Mrs. Calderon said that this path of decision-making without consultation is unacceptable and especially so prematurely.  The SCD Working Group along with the Sick Kids team agreed at the last meeting to continue obtaining samples in order to make a more accurate analysis.

Mrs. Calderon said that she was notified by a Ministry of Health Consultant last week, that PAHO has provided funds to identify how parents were reacting to the new method of testing.  She is adamant that there are not enough parents yet involved to obtain such information and is disturbed that a request from the St. Lucia Sickle Cell Association for a Consultant has not been considered by the Ministry of Health.
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