Due to a lack of resources and hematologists in the state of Georgia, underserved areas and individuals far from Atlanta are unable to seek treatment for sickle cell anemia, experts say.
Uninsured individuals in rural areas are particularly affected by a shortage of specialists and health facilities, representatives from the nonprofit Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia told the Senate Study Committee on Sickle Cell Anemia this week. The committee is due to make its recommendations to the General Assembly by December 1st.
Jeanette Nu’Man, the foundation’s director of operations, presented a map showing the areas where individuals can access everyday care, and areas where they can access treatment only once a month.
“Atlanta and Augusta are the only places in the state of Georgia where people can access care every day for sickle cell treatment,” Nu’Man said.
Grady Hospital in Atlanta has one of the largest adult clinics in the United States and specializes in sickle cell treatment. The Sickle Cell Foundation has recommended dispatching some Grady hematologists and nurses to rural areas in mobile clinics.
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder where there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. In the U.S., this disorder is more prevalent among Black or African American individuals.