Sickle Cell Association of Antigua and Barbuda
An estimated 1,000 people are currently living with sickle cell disease in Antigua and Barbuda.
In Antigua, about 1 in 6 people are carriers of the sickle cell trait and 4 to 5 babies are born with this debilitating disease every year. Symptoms often include anemia, severe pain, vision problems, frequent infections, and organ damage. Many patients can’t maintain jobs because of their recurring symptoms.
Enter the Sickle Cell Association of Antigua and Barbuda (SCAAB), which operates a sheltered workshop—a safe, supervised place where patients with a disabling course of illness can learn and practice skills at their own pace.
Patients create arts and crafts items like mosaics, embroidery, greeting cards and souvenirs that are sold locally under the emblem “Against All Odds”. The workshop facilitates modest earnings and social re-integration. It also helps to improve patients’ self-esteem, depression, and knowledge about sickle cell disease. The workshop is made possible through a recurrent grant from the Mill Reef Fund.
SCAAB provides access to individualized care and pain management, and frequently helps patients who are unable to meet their financial obligations due to prolonged or repeated illness. This includes assistance with rent, phone and utility bills, blood test fees, and taxi fare in emergencies.
The organization, which was founded in 2010 and became a registered nonprofit in 2020, actively promotes awareness of this stigmatized disease and contributes to national policies. It also sponsors food drives for patients in need. SCAAB recently participated in a documentary film about sickle cell disease with a release date of fall 2024.