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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care

Topic Suggestion Description

View Topic Suggestion Disposition (PDF) 1.2 MB

Date submitted: September 20, 2012

Briefly describe a specific question, or set of related questions, about a health care test or treatment that this program should consider.
For patients with sickle cell anemia, what is the safe alternative to blood transfusion in management of anemia?
Does your question include a comparison of different health care approaches? (If no, your topic will still be considered.)
If yes, explain the specific technologies, devices, drugs, or interventions you would like to see compared:
Herbal plants (Telfaria occidentalis and Solanum leaves)versus blood transfusion in management of anemia
What patients or group(s) of patients does your question apply to? (Please include specific details such as age range, gender, coexisting diagnoses, and indications for therapy.)
Sickle cell anemia patients , pregnant women who are anemic and other patients that suffer from diseases that may affect red blood cell count / leading to anemia.
Are there subgroups of patients that your question might apply to? (For example, an ethnic group, stage or severity of a disease.)
This question will apply to Africa- American patients, who are mainly affected by sickle cell disease (SCD)and other ethnic groups at risk of the different variant of SCD. Also pregnant women.
Describe the health-related benefits you are interested in. (For example, improvements in patient symptoms or problems from treatment or diagnosis.)
This therapy is widely used in sub-Saharan African especially in Nigeria as a home therapy in treatment of SCD crisis. This has often led to reduction in hospital stay and severity of symptoms as it boosts red blood cell count as well as tackle dehydration.
Describe any health-related risks, side effects, or harms that you are concerned about.
The health-related side effects that am concerned about borders on the hygienic preparation of the plant extract as it is given raw. Also there is the issue of side effect which may arise as a result of lack of information on appropriate dosage of administration.

Appropriateness for EHC Program

Does your question include a health care drug, intervention, device, or technology available (or likely to be available) in the U.S.?
Which priority area(s) and population(s) does this topic apply to? (check all that apply)
EHC Priority Conditions (updated in 2008)
  • Pregnancy, including preterm birth
AHRQ Priority Populations
  • Low income groups
  • Minority groups
  • Women
  • Individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities or who need chronic care or end-of-life health care
Federal Health Care Program


Describe why this topic is important.
This topic is important because of the fact that it proposes the use of natural alternative for the treatment of anemia instead of transfusion which may be a veritable route for transfer of infectious diseases like hepatitis etc. It is also a very inexpensive alternative to transfusion.
What specifically motivated you to ask this question? (For example, you are developing a clinical guideline, working with a policy with large uncertainty about the appropriate approach, costly intervention, new research you have read, items in the media you may have seen, a clinical practice dilemma you know of, etc.)
I was motivated to ask this question through my personal experience in the use of extract of these leaves in boosting hemoglobin count faster and safer without transfusion during SCD crisis.

Also, the fact that most developing economy does not have a well planned health care insurance scheme which can help in lowering cost of management of anemia in patients motivated this question.
Does your question represent uncertainty for clinicians and/or policy-makers? (For example, variations in clinical care, controversy in what constitutes appropriate clinical care, or a policy decision.)
If yes, please explain:

Potential Impact

How will an answer to your research question be used or help inform decisions for you or your group?
Answer to this research question will help anemic patients needing transfusion to make informed decisions on method of doing so, cheaply, safely and less risky.
Describe the timeframe in which an answer to your question is needed.
Answer to this question is needed urgently as a result of the reduced life expectancy of SCD patients due to low blood counts.
Describe any health disparities, inequities, or impact on vulnerable populations your question applies to.
It is a known fact that management of anemia especially in SCD is crucial to recovery during crisis. Thus this question will have a tremendous impact on these vulnerable group

Nominator Information

Other Information About You: (optional)
Please choose a description that best describes your role or perspective: (you may select more than one category if appropriate)
  • Patient/Consumer
  • Health Care Payer/Purchaser (Employer, Federal Government)
  • Researcher
Are you making a suggestion as an individual or on behalf of an organization?
Please tell us how you heard about the Effective Health Care Program