Novartis recognizes World Sickle Cell Day to drive awareness
Jun 17, 2016
Sickle Cell Disease
On June 19, countries across the globe will observe World Sickle Cell Day, an annual opportunity to increase awareness and inspire action around sickle cell disease (SCD), a hereditary blood disorder that affects millions of patients worldwide.
Novartis has a long history of helping people who are affected by sickle cell disease and living with its complications, such as chronic iron overload. Iron overload, or an excess of iron in the body as a result of regular blood transfusions, can occur when the body’s limited storage capacities are exceeded, causing iron to build up in the liver, thyroid and pituitary glands and in the heart. Here are a few examples of how Novartis colleagues around the world are honoring World Sickle Cell Day and working to improve the lives of people in the SCD community:
Colombia Novartis colleagues in Colombia are working closely with two non-profit organizations in an effort to help increase patient access to treatment and create widespread awareness and education in rural villages throughout the country. One program called “La Ruta de la Vida” (Smile Route), hosted in partnership with Fundación Pohema, helps pediatric patients in the city of Cali and its surrounding areas with transportation to medical appointments and transfusions as needed. A second program piloted in Buenaventura, in partnership with the Pan-American Development Foundation, trains local social workers and community leaders within this remote village to provide educational materials and resources to help manage the disease and identify at-risk patients.
Brazil Novartis colleagues in Brazil are supporting the launch of a digital campaign by patient advocacy group Lua Vermelha (Red Moon) called “Viva a Vida,” designed to help demystify sickle cell disease, and educate patients about the risk of chronic iron overload as a result of regular blood transfusions. Throughout the month of June, digital assets – including a celebrity video featuring Brazilian actress Giovanna Antonelli, patient and physician interviews, and daily posts about a fictional young SCD patient – will be posted to the Lua Vermelha website and Facebook page.
United States On Saturday, June 18, Novartis employees in the US will join Jason and Devin McCourty, professional football players and twin brothers at the 4th Annual McCourty Twins Tackle Sickle Cell 5K Run/Walk, to raise awareness and provide educational materials to patients and their families. This is the third year Novartis has partnered with the McCourty twins to spread the word about sickle cell disease and the risk of chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions.