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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 124-130

The impact of sickle cell disease severity on school performance in affected Yemeni children

Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Aden, Aden, Yemen

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abdul-Wahab M Al-Saqladi
Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Aden, P.O. Box 6032, Khormaksar, Aden
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1658-5127.198506

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Background: School difficulties are common in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). The study aimed to assess the relationship between severity of SCD in children and their school absenteeism and achievement. Subjects and Methods: The sample included school-aged children (7–15 years old) with SCD who were enrolled from Hematology Clinic in Al-Sadaqa General Teaching Hospital, Aden, during 2013 through 2014. Data about school absence, academic score achievement, and grade retention were collected. Disease severity was assessed by frequency of clinical events and complications. Differences between groups were assessed by appropriate statistical analysis. Results: Sixty children were included for the study; their mean age was 11.5 ± 2.4 years and 51.7% were of the female sex. The number of days absent from school in a year ranged from 0 to 112 days, with a median (IQR) of 28 (14–45) days. Absence of more than 20 days in the previous academic year was reported in 60% of the children. Grade retention was reported in 45% of the children. Both school absence and grade retention were significantly correlated with age (r = 0.35, P = 0.006 and r = 0.32, P = 0.01, respectively). During the previous academic year, 48.3% of the children reported a below average final academic score. Severity assessment revealed that 65% of the children scored as severe. School absenteeism was significantly associated with disease severity score (r = 0.44, P < 0.001). Children with low academic achievement and those with grade retention had significantly higher disease severity score (all P < 0.05). Conclusion: This study suggests that disease severity has important influences on school attendance and performance. Interventions to modify disease severity and school absence might improve academic performance in the affected children.

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