Factors associated with knowledge on sickle cell disease among Makerere University students, Kampala Uganda.
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Background: In Uganda, the prevalence of sickle cells disease (SCD) is high at 0.7%. However; the level of knowledge on SCD and factors associated among the young adults are unknown. Objectives: The main objective of this study was to determine factors associated with the level of knowledge on sickle cell disease among young adults at Makerere University in Uganda. Methods: This was a cross sectional study among 476 students between the age of 18-24years at Makerere university. The dependent variable was knowledge on SCD, while the independent variables included: Individual factors, family factors, health belief factors, health system factors. Modified poison regression was used to analyse the factors associated with knowledge on SCD and the measure of association was prevalence risk ratios. Quantitative data was collected using a semi structured questionnaire and analysed using STATA 13. Qualitative data was collected from 6 key informants using a key informant interview guide; and 4 focus group discussions. Qualitative data was analysed using content thematic analysis. Results: There were 476 students aged (18-24) years of which 51.7% (246/476) were female. The mean age was 21.7years. 34% of the students had good knowledge on SCD. The factors which were significantly associated with knowledge on SCD included: respondent’s course (PRR=0.55; CI: 0.44-0.67), those who had ever attended an awareness campaign (PRR=1.69; CI: 1.34-2.12) and those who had ever known a SCD patient (PRR=1.35; CI: 1.05-1.75). The facilitators for knowledge on sickle cells disease included: availability and accessibility of SCD test and counselling services, creation of awareness. Barriers to knowledge on sickle cells disease included: cultural influence, lowly perceived susceptibility of the disease, and inadequate awareness, myths on sickle cells disease. xi Conclusion: The level of knowledge on SCD is low among university students. This is influenced by course of participants, attendance of awareness campaigns and having known a SCD patient. The ministry of health and concerned civil society organisations should intensify educational programs on SCD, and also widen the coverage of these programs to reach out to a bigger population.