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2022 World Sickle Cell Day: Community Participation Necessary In Reducing The Disease In Nigeria

 

Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), is identifying community participation as one of the key factors in bringing awareness to the reduction of the burden of Sickle Cell Disease in Nigeria.

As she made the call during a press conference that was organised by SCHAF, on Tuesday, the 14th of June, 2022, at the Ibadan Civic Centre, to mark the commemorate of the 2022 World Sickle Cell Day as well as the 10th year anniversary of the NGO, Professor Adeyinka Falusi, the founder, had described the importance of the participation of community members in raising awareness about the disease as she described Nigeria as the country with the highest number of sickle cell carriers in Africa.

“Nigeria bears the highest burden of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in the world with over 4 million sufferers receiving treatment and over 40 million trait carriers capable of spreading this disorder. Of the 300,000 babies born with SCD in Africa annually, 150,000 with SCD are born in Nigeria with 100,000 dying annually.”

“The role of community in promoting a health-conscious environment cannot be over-emphasised. The community has a huge part to play in taking the message of Sickle Cell Disease to the family unit, this will increase the awareness, foster prevention and help reduce the burden on the existing sufferers.”

 

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Therefore, she called upon all the members of the community in different sectors to participate in the efforts to spread awareness of Sickle Cell Disease.

In her remarks, the retired professor of Hematology and Human Genetics hinted towards several activities slated for the year’s commemoration. These include offering free treatments to carriers, conducting a free genotyping test and raising awareness among market women and religious organizations, which are all part of what she termed as the NGO’s mission.

While delivering the Oyo State commissioner for health’s message, Dr. Wale Falana, the Director of Secondary Health Care and Training in the state Ministry of Health, had expressed the government’s appreciation for SCHAF’s efforts on Sickle Cell disease. He then hinted at the facilities that the Oyo State government has put in place in primary health centres and the state hospital so as to cater for the needs of people who are living with sickle cell as well as the free treatment arrangement for children who are under the age of five.

One of the participants, Dr. Mariam Lawal, who is a carrier of the disease and a pharmacist at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, spoke with the Tribune Online, and advised Sickle Cell carriers to keep their hopes and dreams alive and urged for the members of the public to desist from stigmatising carriers of the Sickle Cell Disease.

“I advise people living with sickle cell disease condition to be encouraged. They should think positively about their condition and believe they can achieve whatever dreams they have.”

 

SOURCE: Tribune