President, Sickle Cell Club, Lagos, Mrs Ayo Otaigbe has called for public support to help improve the lives of people with Sickle Cell Disorders (SCD), adding that more research was also required to aid in the management of the disorder.
Mrs Otaigbe made the call recently at the end of year celebration of the club held at the National Sickle Cell Centre, Lagos.
“The fact that over 150,000 children are born every year in Nigeria with symptomatic sickle cell anaemia while one in every four Nigerian is a carrier of the sickle cell gene is well documented. Many of these children die at infancy due to lack of information and appropriate care. Over the years, advances have been made to unravel the complex nature of SCD.”
However, she said, the disorder is not well understood as expected and it is certainly not amenable to various drugs of unproven efficacy optimistically marketed in Nigeria.
She said, the club had through its activities continued to increase public awareness and knowledge of the disorder especially through the establishment of sickle cell clubs, partnering with the SCFN and other stakeholders.
According to her, the focus for 2016 will be to consolidate on the successes recorded in 2015 and increase the level of awareness.
Also speaking, Chairman, Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, Prof. Olu Akinyaju, reiterated the need for Nigerians to support people with SCD.
“People should support persons with SCD; they should also support the centre and the clubs; there is a lot to be done in the area of SCD. We do not get enough donations, research has to be done, and workers need to be paid, people with SCD need tests, counselling and medication.”
The don also said, “we have a programme where we encourage everyone to give N5,000 monthly to the centre, it will mean a lot.”
He said, there would be a lot of capacity building in 2016, “it is very important and it will involve periodic counselling, training for personnel, doctors and nurses for emergency situations.’’
Akinyaju called for the establishment of at least one sickle cell centre in each state of the federation.
Mr Olasukanmi Rotimi, SCD person from the Apapa Sickle Cell Area Club, Lagos, said that people with SCD need a lot of care and attention.
He urged the public to always lend a comforting and helping hand to anyone with the disorder.
Rotimi said that with adequate care, strict adherence to medication and appropriate lifestyle, people with SCD could also accomplish feats just like those who do not have the disorder.