Healthcare Workers’ knowledge and resource availability for care of Sickle Cell Disease in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a global public health priority due to its high morbidity and mortality. In Tanzania, SCD accounts for 7% of under-five mortality. Cost-effective interventions such as early diagnosis and linkage to care have been shown to prevent 70% of deaths but require knowledge among healthcare workers and availability of resources at health facilities. In Tanzania, data on these critical determinants are currently lacking.

Objective: To assess healthcare workers’ knowledge and resource availability for care of SCD at health facilities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Methodology: A facility-based cross-sectional study was conducted between December 2020 and February 2021 among 490 nurses and clinicians at Regional Referral Hospitals (Temeke, Amana, and Mwananyamala) and Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Data were collected using a pre-tested structured questionnaire consisting of 13 knowledge questions (scored good knowledge if correct response in >7) and an inventory check list to record available resources. Pearson’s χ2 was used to determine the association between level of knowledge and demographic factors. Multivariate logistic regression was used to ascertain the strength of associations. A two-tailed p-value <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

Results: Of the 490 participants (median age 28 years [IQR = 26–35]), only 25.1% had good knowledge on SCD. The odds of good knowledge was 82% lower in nurses than clinicians (AOR = 0.177; 95% CI: 0.090, 0.349; p < 0.001); 95% lower in diploma than Master’s degree holders (AOR = 0.049; 95% CI: 0.008, 0.300; p = 0.001) and 4.6 times higher in those with 5–9 years than ≥10 years of experience (AOR = 4.564; 95% CI: 1.341, 15.525; p = 0.015). The regional-level hospitals lacked diagnostic tests and hydroxyurea therapy.

Conclusion: There was general lack of knowledge on SCD among healthcare workers and limited availability of critical resources for the diagnosis and care of SCD, especially at regional-level hospitals. Efforts are needed for their improvement to enhance care to patients, thus reducing the morbidity and mortality due to SCD in Tanzania.


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

Publication (Name of Journal)

Frontiers in Genetics