2. Department of Haematology University of Calabar, Nigeria.
3. College of Health Technology Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
4. Pathology Department, Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Kware, Sokoto, Nigeria.
5. Department of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine Usmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital Sokoto, Nigeria.
6. OneBrigade Medical Centre Sokoto, Nigeria.
7. Usmanu Danfodio University Sokoto, Nigeria.
Background: Haemoglobinopathies are inherited disorders of haemoglobin synthesis that are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality all over the world. Communities in Africa constitute a major part of the population that is vulnerable to many erythrocytic hereditary and haematological disorders. The aim of this study was to find the prevalence/spectrum of haemoglobin variants among 400 subjects of African descent resident in Sokoto, North Western Nigeria.
Methods: Standard alkaline cellulose acetate electrophoretic technique using the Shandon electrophoretic tank with tris-ethylene diamine tetracetic acid (EDTA) borate buffer was employed for the determination of abnormal haemoglobin variants.
Results: Four hundred subjects of African descent with mean age of 38.4±12.8 years comprising 121 males (30.25%) and 279 (69.75%) females with a mean age 38.4±2.8 years constituted the subjects for this prospective case study. The prevalence based on age groups indicated that the prevalence of HbAA was highest in the 11-20 years age group while HbAS, HbAC, HbSC and HbSS (35%, 8.5%, 2.25%, 0.75%, and 4.25%) prevalence was highest among subjects<10 years old. The percentage distribution of different forms of haemoglobin (Hb) among the subjects was; Hb AA 280(70%); HbAS 93(23.25%); HbAC 5(1.25%); HbSC 3(0.75%) and HbSS 19(4.75%). Among the male subjects, 93(67.9%) were HbAA, 18(14.9%) were HbAS; 1(0.83%) were HbAC; 1(0.83%) were HbSC and 8(6.61%) were HbSS. Among the 279 female subjects, 187(67.02%) were HbAA, 75(28.88%) were HbAS; 4(1.43%) were HbAC; 2(0.72%) were HbSC and 11(3.94%) were HbSS. We observed that all subjects with haemoglobin SS and SC were less than 20 years of age.
Conclusion: This research indicates a high prevalence of haemoglobin variants in the study population. We recommend that carrier screening and mutation identification be implemented as a preventative measure. There is need for the formulation of genetic counseling policies to provide evidenced- based information to enable prospective couples make informed decisions aimed at reducing the incidence of haemoglobinopathies in Sokoto in particular and Nigeria in general.
Keywords: Haemoglobin electrophoretic pattern, haemoglobinopathies, Sokoto, Nigeria