i. Research Topic: “Sickle Cell in Africa” Education Through Media. ii. Target Population: People Of all Ages Gender: Male and female Ethnicity: Not applicable Location: West Africa Health Issues: Sickle Cell Disease iii. Goal: To use telehealth to promote prevention of birth to children with sickle cell disease in West Africa. iv. Population location: West Africa. v. Type of Technology: Information and Communications Technology (ICT) with emphasis on health media applications such as mobile phone, electronic bill boards and social media platforms.

Title: Utilizing Information and Communications Technology to Raise Awareness and Prevent Sickle Cell Disease in West Africa

1. Introduction

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder characterized by abnormal red blood cells that can disrupt the flow of oxygen in the body. It affects millions of people worldwide, with a significant burden of the disease found in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in West Africa. The impact of SCD in this region is substantial, affecting individuals physically, psychologically, and socially.

This research proposal aims to explore the potential of utilizing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to raise awareness about SCD and promote prevention strategies in West Africa. The target population includes individuals of all ages, with a particular emphasis on reaching males and females through various media platforms, such as mobile phones, electronic billboards, and social media.

2. Background

2.1 Sickle Cell Disease in West Africa

West Africa has one of the highest prevalence rates of SCD globally. It is estimated that over 150,000 children are born with SCD annually in this region. These numbers highlight the urgent need for interventions to prevent the transmission of the disease from parents to their offspring.

2.2 Telehealth and Information and Communications Technology

Telehealth refers to the use of telecommunications technology for healthcare-related purposes. It encompasses a wide range of applications, including remote patient monitoring, telemedicine consultations, and health education through electronic media. The use of ICT has proven effective in delivering healthcare services and educational content, especially in resource-limited settings.

3. Research Objectives

The primary goal of this research proposal is to leverage telehealth and ICT to enhance the prevention of SCD in West Africa. The specific objectives are as follows:

3.1. To raise awareness about SCD among the general population in West Africa through the use of health media applications, including mobile phones, electronic billboards, and social media.

3.2. To educate individuals about the genetic basis and transmission of SCD and promote the importance of preconception counseling, carrier testing, and family planning to reduce the incidence of the disease.

3.3. To increase knowledge and understanding of available healthcare services and resources for individuals with SCD in West Africa, thereby improving their quality of life and reducing complications.

4. Research Methodology

4.1. Study Design

This research proposal will utilize a mixed methods approach, incorporating both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The study will consist of two phases: the development and implementation of an ICT-based intervention, followed by an evaluation of its impact on awareness and prevention of SCD.

4.2. Phase 1: Intervention Development

In the first phase, an interdisciplinary team of experts, including healthcare professionals, ICT specialists, and social scientists, will collaborate to develop an ICT-based intervention. This intervention will comprise various components tailored to different media platforms, such as educational videos, interactive mobile phone applications, and social media campaigns.

4.3. Phase 2: Intervention Implementation and Evaluation

The second phase will involve the implementation of the ICT-based intervention in selected communities in West Africa. A pre-post study design will be employed to evaluate the impact of the intervention on awareness and prevention of SCD. Data will be collected through surveys, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews.

5. Ethical Considerations

Ethical approval will be obtained from the relevant research ethics committee before the study’s commencement. Informed consent will be obtained from all study participants, ensuring confidentiality and privacy. The intervention will be culturally sensitive and tailored to the local context to ensure its acceptability and relevance.

6. Expected Outcomes and Significance of the Study

This research proposal expects to demonstrate the potential of ICT in raising awareness and preventing SCD in West Africa. It has the potential to significantly reduce the incidence of SCD by promoting preconception counseling, carrier testing, and family planning. Additionally, this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on telehealth and ICT interventions for public health purposes in resource-constrained settings.

7. Conclusion

The utilization of ICT has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery and health promotion in resource-limited settings. By leveraging various media platforms, this research proposal aims to raise awareness about SCD and promote preventive strategies in West Africa. As SCD continues to pose a significant health burden in this region, it is imperative to explore innovative approaches to improve outcomes and reduce the prevalence of this genetic disorder.