The efficacy of maternal health education and maternal screening on knowledge and the uptake of infant screening for sickle cell disease in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania; a quasi experimental study.

Hilda J. Tutuba, Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO)
Agnes Jonathan, Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO)
William Lloyd, MUHAS
Upendo Masamu, MUHAS
Emanuela Marco, MUHAS
Julie Makani, Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO)
Paschal Ruggajo, Aga Khan University
Benson R. Kidenya, Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO)
Irene K. Minja, Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO)
Emmanuel Balandya, Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO)

This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.



Globally, Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most common genetic disease with high childhood mortality. Early identification of babies with SCD through newborn screening (NBS) and linking them to care are among the recommended interventions. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of maternal health education and maternal screening for SCD on knowledge and the uptake of infant screening for SCD among mother-infant pairs attending antenatal clinics at Government health facilities in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania.


This study was a pre-test post-test, quasi-experimental which involved pregnant women attending antenatal clinics at three hospitals; Mbagala hospital, Sinza hospital and Buguruni health center in Dar Es Salaam. A structured questionnaire was used in data collection. Knowledge on SCD was assessed for all participants before and after two sessions of health education. Participants in Mbagala and Buguruni were also screened for SCD using Sickle SCAN point-of-care test (BioMedomics Inc, USA). The efficacy for health education intervention was computed as the post-intervention minus baseline knowledge score. For proportions, a two-sample z-test was used. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression were used to analyze the efficacy of health education intervention and also predictors of infant diagnosis.


For two sessions of health education intervention, a total of 467 pregnant women completed the sessions. During antenatal visits, a total of 218 were screened for SCD. The proportion of participants with good knowledge of SCD had significantly increased to 85.9% from 12.4% at baseline following the education intervention. In multivariate analysis, sharing the received education on SCD was an independent predictor of the efficacy of health education intervention. Maternal occupation, maternal SCD status as well as sharing the received education on SCD were independent predictors of the uptake of SCD infant diagnosis.


This study has demonstrated that maternal health education and maternal screening for SCD are feasible and efficacious interventions in raising knowledge and improving the uptake of infant diagnosis for SCD. These interventions are strongly recommended to be included in the comprehensive care package for pregnant women attending antenatal clinics, particularly in areas with a high burden of SCD.