Stroke Prevention Program in Nigeria
For over a decade Dr. Michael DeBaun, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, has led an effort to prevent strokes in children with sickle cell disease in Nigeria. Our Center’s collaborative effort with pediatricians and hematologists in northern Nigeria has screened over 10,000 children with sickle cell disease at high risk for strokes.
The program's purchase of 19 transcranial Doppler machines and training in their use was paid primarily with funds donated to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It also helped educate local pediatricians to treat high-risk children with hydroxyurea, a medication made in Nigeria and provided below cost to Nigerian hospitals.
Through this concerted effort, the Nigerian state governments of Kano, Katsina and Kaduna have provided free stroke screening and hydroxyurea for children identified at high risk within a year of a positive stroke screening test.
Dr. DeBaun and other members of the Vanderbilt team including Drs. Lori Jordan (Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics), Muktar Aliyu (Associate Professor of Medicine), Ed Trevethan (Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine) and Adetola Kassim (Professor of Medicine) have continued expanding the reach of this program. Although successful in preventing strokes in hundreds of Nigerian children, the program has only screened a fraction of the estimated 40,000 children with sickle cell disease living in the three-state region.