Sikul Sel Song – by pupils from a Sierra Leone school

SIKUL SEL by Sam Macauley

In 2017, Dr Maria Berghs, a colleague of Professor Simon Dyson at De Montfort University, went to Sierra Leone in 2017 and got their ‘Guide to School Policy‘ adapted to the local context. (The guide is also available in many other languages).

Whilst there someone took the guide, wrote a sickle cell song about it in KRIO (Creole), and the people involved have now all agreed to share this wonderful music through a Creative Commons License.

The lyrics and song

Here are the lyrics to SIKUL SEL by Sam Macauley so you can join in!

Sikul sel na blod siknes
We Mamie en Dadi kingina bele
No fred se yu go get am,
Bot epam fo liv in yon layf

And most importantly, you can click here to hear the fabulous song.

Or click on this link to download the .WMA file. SIKUL SEL Song Sierra Leone

The star performers!

The performance involved the following people:

The Sierra Leone Sickle Cell Disease Society – Amelia Eva Gabba and Annie Sesay. The wonderful singing was provided by the Methodist Girls High School, Freetown, with Edwina Kamara (teacher) and pupils Fatmata Kargbo, Haja Fatmata Sesay, Vicresa Momoh, Fanta Kabba, Lina Kanu,Tushiatu Bangura, Jessica Johnson, Francess Kamara, Naizmiyeh Turay, Fatmata Mansaray and Tenneh Samura.
We thank everyone involved for their wonderful musical creation.

Lecture series discussing ethnicity and screening

S Dyson Research

Image: Ethnicity and screening lecture series by Professor Simon Dyson
Creative Commons BY-SA.

Professor Simon Dyson

Undergraduate social sciences and healthcare, postgraduate, healthcare professionals.

OER Features:

Narrated presentation: Ethnicity questions and antenatal screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia.

Narrated presentation: Research study.

Narrated presentation:

Narrated presentation: white carriers of the sickle cell gene.

OER Description:

These open educational resources incorporate a series of 4 narrated presentations, presented by Professor Simon Dyson of De Montfort University. They describe research exploring ethnicity questions and antenatal screening for sickle cell disease and thalassaemia. These are superb resources for any medical and healthcare students and professionals.


Global Sickle Cell Awareness Day on 19th June

To celebrate Global Sickle Cell Awareness Day on 19th June, SCOOTER is releasing a number of high quality education materials on sickle cell and thalassaemia with the education of future scientists and future health professionals in mind. Today sees the release onto SCOOTER of the first wave of such social science resources. These comprise two series of lectures with narrations. They are available in multiple formats including podcasts and PDF files of the slides.

The first is a series of lectures on sickle cell and education, examining the challenges of young people with sickle cell disorder at school. All six lectures can be found here as narrated presentations or notes.

The lectures follow a series of publications of the following journal articles:

Dyson, SM; Atkin, K; Culley, LA; Dyson, SE; and Evans, H (2011) Sickle cell, habitual dyspositions and fragile dispositions: young people with sickle cell at school Sociology of Health and Illness 33 (3): 465-483 [ISSN: 0141-9889]

Dyson, SM; Atkin, K; Culley, LA; Dyson, SE; Evans, H and Rowley, DT (2010) Disclosure and sickle cell disorder: a mixed methods study of the young person with sickle cell at school Social Science and Medicine 70 (12) 2036-2044. [ISSN: 0277-9536]

Dyson, SM; Abuateya, H; Atkin, K; Culley, LA; Dyson, SE; and Rowley, DT (2010) Reported school experiences of young people living with sickle cell disorder in England British Educational Research Journal 36 (1): 125-142 [ISSN 0141-1926]

Dyson, SM; Abuateya, H; Atkin, K; Culley, LA; Dyson, SE; and Rowley, DT (2008) Local authorities and the education of young people with sickle cell disorders (SCD) in England International Studies in Sociology of Education 18 (1) 47-60. [ISSN 0962-1214]

Dyson, SM; Atkin, K; Culley, LA and Dyson, SE (2007) The educational experiences of young people with sickle cell disorder: a commentary on existing literature. Disability and Society 22 (6): 581-594. [ISSN: 0968-7599]

The second comprises three lectures around ante-natal screening for sickle cell/thalassaemia and the challenges of attempting to target that screening on the basis of an ethnic/family origins screening question, research that informed the development of the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Programme Family Origins Questionnaire.

Narrated presentations and notes can be found on our resources pages. The research informing these lectures can be found in the following articles:

Dyson, SM; Chambers, K; Gawler, S; Hubbard, S; Jivanji, V; Sutton, F; and Squire, P (2007) Lessons for Intermediate and Low Prevalence Areas in England from the Ethnicity Questions and Antenatal Screening for Sickle Cell/Thalassaemia [EQUANS] Study. Diversity in Health and Social Care 4 (2): 123-35. [ISSN 1743-1913]

Dyson, SM; Cochran, F; Culley, LA; Dyson, SE, Kennefick, A; Kirkham, M; Morris, P; Sutton, F; and Squire, P (2007) Observation and Interview Findings from the Ethnicity Questions and Antenatal Screening for Sickle Cell/Thalassaemia [EQUANS] Study. Critical Public Health 17 (1): 31-43. [ISSN 0958-1596]

Dyson, SM; Culley, LA; Gill, C; Hubbard, S; Kennefick, A; Morris, P; Rees, D; Sutton, F; Squire, P (2006) Ethnicity Questions and Antenatal Screening for Sickle Cell/Thalassaemia [EQUANS] in England: A randomized controlled trial of two questionnaires. Ethnicity and Health 11 (2): 169-189. [ISSN 1355-7858]


We would appreciate your feedback on these resources and whether you found them useful and how you might intend using them, either yourself as an interested member of the public, as an educator or as a student. Please complete our resource surveys included on each page.

Professor Simon Dyson, De Montfort University

Sickle cell and deaths in custody

We know that sickle cell disease is a vital part of the science curriculum in universities. But how can it inform the social science and humanities sections of the academy? One example is through my work on the relationship between sickle cell and sudden unexpected deaths of Black men in police or prison custody.

At De Montfort University, the work on sickle cell and deaths in custody (Dyson and Boswell, 2009) informs the youth and community development curriculum. One element of this is to encourage students who will work with young people in a multi-ethnic society to understand the ways in which White people enjoy cultural, material and symbolic resources, that, usually without any critical reflection on their part, they then regard as the natural order of things. The research work drawn upon illustrates this general principle in the case of sudden death of Black people in custody. The research shows how official accounts of sudden deaths of Black people in state custody draw upon two contradictory discourses. When a Black man dies in police or prison custody and is found to have sickle cell trait at autopsy (all people with sickle cell trait would show sickled cells at autopsy) the death is attributed not to violence, restraint, positional asphyxia, use of conductive electrical devices or pepper spray, but to “unexpected”, “rare”, “natural causes” that officers “could not be expected to know about”. Conversely, there are documented deaths in police and prison custody of people whom it is known have the full medical condition sickle cell anaemia, but whose requests for preventive or emergency treatment are systematically denied, leading to their deaths under police or prison jurisdiction.

Deaths in Custody Book Jacket

The lecture and discussion based on this research contributes to several of the learning outcomes for a module entitled “Black Perspectives”, which aims to: (1) Present a critical appreciation of the relationship between Black people and non-Black people; (2) Analyse a contemporary issue of significance to the Black Community, and (3) Reflect on individual learning during the module and explore how the module content and the group  work undertaken contributed to them working toward enhanced practice based on knowledge, experience, and skills.

This session contributes to the wider BA (Hons) Youth and Community Development programme aim of challenging taken-for-granted assumptions of students, in this case by exploring the complex ways that, even in death, the social experience of Black and White people is not the same.

Research References

Dyson, SM and Boswell, GR (2009) Sickle Cell and Deaths in Custody London: Whiting & Birch 

Blog Post by Professor Simon M Dyson

Unit for the Social Study of Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell,
De Montfort University