Elizabeth Anionwu was one of the first nurses to develop services for patients suffering from sickle cell disease.
From the 1950s onwards the numbers of black patients treated by the NHS rose as a result of mass migration. Nurses were uniquely placed to draw attention to black patients’ special needs. Elizabeth was working in the 1970s as a Community Nurse Tutor in Brent Health District, London. She trained health visitors and district nurses in community nursing and health.
During this time she became aware of sickle cell disease—an inherited anaemia that has a high incidence in the African and Caribbean populations—and this led to the first Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Information, Screening and Counselling Centre being set up in Brent in 1979.
Listen to her talking about the struggle of setting up support for patients and getting nurses and doctors to recognise sickle cell disease in the NHS.