Newham residents urged to give blood and help sickle cell sufferers

GPs are urging the borough’s residents to give blood for Sickle Cell Awareness month.

People with sickle cell have a different shaped red blood cell which can block the flow of blood, preventing oxygen getting to the body’s tissue. If that happens, the result can be pain, organ failure or even stroke.

Sickle cells mainly affect people of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Caribbean descent. In the UK, there are around 12,500 sickle cell sufferers.The majority of the people that suffer from sickle cell lead almost completely normal lives.

Dr Zuhair Zarifa, a GP and the chairman of NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Some sickle cell symptoms can be managed with blood transfusions so I would encourage anyone who is able to donate blood to do so; particularly those with less common blood types.

“Blood donations from ethnic minorities are particularly important to the health service. If you give blood, you will help to increase the amount of blood supplies available. And you could be helping improve the life of someone in a lot of pain or even save someone’s life.”

To find out more, visit the East London NHS Foundation Trust’s Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Centre at 19-20 High Street South, East Ham or call them on 020 8821 0800.

To find out more about giving blood at www.blood.co.uk/giving-blood.

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