On Friday, October 20th, Dr. Graham Roger Serjeant the architect of Sickle Cell Disease management in Jamaica, and internationally, visited Florida to share his perspectives and treatment modalities that are widely utilized to treat the disease.
Dr. Serjeant’s findings have been proven to be effective in reducing the number of crisis incidents experienced globally in patients suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia. The disease is an inherited blood abnormality affecting approximately 400,000 births annually worldwide. The doctor’s lecture at the University’s Mailman Center, was hosted by Drs. Ofelia Alvarez and Thomas J. Harrington of the University of Miami’s Jackson Healthcare system.
Migrated to Jamaica
Serjeant, a native of the United Kingdom, and his wife migrated to Jamaica in 1966 where he began his internship at the University of the West Indies. His findings and ground-breaking care management systems in Sickle Cell Anemia, through research and studies of patients in the rural areas of Jamaica, have resulted in the reduction of infant deaths among families in the region. These unprecedented lifesaving techniques may give pause to medical communities abroad that prides itself on being on the cutting edge of technology and research. It begs to address the question; how can these results come from a region considered to have far less medically advanced services and technological capabilities than their first world counterpart?
- To what can we attribute Dr. Serjeant’s success in the reduction of infant deaths in a world where poverty in the countryside and rural towns is as extremely rampant?
- How did Dr. Serjeant discover the key to improving the quality of life of Sickle Cell patients, while extending their lifespan?
Developed major comprehensive clinical/research facility
Throughout his 51 years in Jamaica, Dr. Serjeant developed a major comprehensive clinical and research facility for the management and investigation of over 5,500 patients with Sickle Cell disease. Through documentation of the natural history of the disease, evolving simple methods for the prevention, and more effective treatment of complications from the disease, the Jamaican facility has significantly decreased mortality and reduced morbidity of this disease. These pioneering methods were simple, cost-effective, and low technology; hence they were appropriate to countries with limited resources, where the disease is a common public health problem.
The Cohort Study, based on the detection and follow-up of 550 cases of Sickle Cell disease among 100,000 consecutive normal deliveries at Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica is a unique study of the natural history of the cell disease. For the first time, the true natural history of the disease could be documented in place of the symptomatic bias inevitable in previous reports. As the children with the disease aged, the major determinants of morbidity and mortality at each age have been defined, and cost-effective interventions implemented. The Jamaican Cohort Study is recognized worldwide as a major contribution to the understanding and improved management of Sickle Cell disease. In supervising one of the worlds’ largest Sickle Cell clinic and overseeing the care of over 5,500 patients, experience on all manifestations of sickle cell disease has been accumulated by Dr. Serjeant.
Patience with Patients
The doctor’s visit to South Florida, was facilitated by Patience with Patients of America (PWPA), a not-for-profit entity, in conjunction with their Life Changers Award Gala, where Dr. Serjeant and local healthcare professionals were honored for their service and dedicated care of patients with Sickle Cell disease.
Ms. Melanie Grant, a Sickle Cell survivor, Founder and her mother Barbara Fearon-Grant, President, both Jamaican-Americans, residing in Palm Beach County, have made it their life’s mission to advocate on behalf of, and empower patients suffering from chronic illnesses like Sickle Cells disease and Lupus. They seek to enact change in the lives of individuals coping with chronic diseases and the disease process. Through advocacy, education and proper care management support they serve as a liaison to healthcare professionals. This positions PWPA to become the supporting cast for healthcare providers, ultimately leading to more effective communication between patients and their healthcare givers. To learn more or to donate visit www.patiencewithpatients.org
For previous article on sickle cell, visit the link: Poll Dispels Long-Held Views