BY OLUWATOSIN IGHOTEGUONO

GOVERNMENT AT ALL LEVELS HAVE BEEN URGED TO PUT IN PLACE POLICIES THAT WOULD ENSURE THAT NEW-BORN ARE SCREENED FOR SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA TO HELP IN TACKLING THE CONDITION RIGHT FROM BIRTH.

THIS WAS THE SUBMISSION OF MEDICAL EXPERTS AND PATIENTS OF SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA IN AKURE IN COMMEMORATION OF THIS YEAR’S WORLD SICKLE CELL DAY.

SICKLE CELL DISEASE IS A MODIFICATION IN THE SHAPE OF THE RED BLOOD CELL FROM A SMOOTH DONUT SHAPE INTO A CRESCENT OR HALF-MOON THEREBY BLOCKING FREE FLOW OF BLOOD INTO THE BODY.

THIS COULD LEAD TO ACUTE PAIN, BACTERIAL INFECTION, DEATH OF THE TISSUE IN THE BODY AND LOTS MORE.

ACCORDING TO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION’S REPORT, OVER FIVE PERCENT OF THE WORLD POPULATION CARRIES TRAIT GENES FOR HAEMOGLOBIN DISORDERS MAINLY SICKLE CELL DISEASE AS THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND BABIES WITH SICKLE CELL OR HAEMOGLOBIN DISORDER ARE BORN YEARLY

A PHARMACOGNOSIST AND SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, FACULTY OF PHARMACY, OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE-IFE, DR MOJISOLA CYRIL-OLUTAYO SAID SICKLE CELL DISEASE OCCUR WHEN BOTH PARENTS ARE CARRIERS OF A TRAIT GENES FOR THE PARTICULAR CONDITION AND COULD BE WELL MANAGED WITH HIGH INTAKE OF FLUID, VACCINATION, BALANCED FOOD, REGULAR CHECK-UP AND OTHER THERAPEUTIC MEASURES.

DR CYRIL-OLUTAYO WHO IS ALSO THE PRESIDENT OF SICKLE CELL CLUB, AT THE OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY ILE-IFE SAID THOSE LIVING WITH THE CONDITION ALSO LIVE WELL AND COULD DO ALL HUMAN ACTIVITIES IF PROPERLY GUIDED BY MEDICAL EXPERTS.

SHE HOWEVER ADVISED GOVERNMENT AT ALL LEVELS TO INTENSIFY EFFORTS ON AWARENESS CAMPAIGN ON SICKLE CELL AT THE GRASSROOT, PROMOTE EQUITABLE ACCESS TO GOOD HEALTH CARE AND PROVIDE FREE DRUGS TO PATIENTS

SPEAKING WITH RADIO NIGERIA, A SICKLE CELL PATIENT AND AN ADVOCATE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH THE CONDITION IN ONDO STATE, MISS OLUWAKEMI OGUNTIMEHIN WHO SAID CHALLENGES BEING FACED BY PEOPLE LIVING WITH SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA INCLUDED SEVERE JOINT PAINS, STIGMATIZATION FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILIES, LACK OF MONEY FOR HOSPITAL BILLS AND LOTS MORE SHARE HER EXPERIENCE.

SPEAKING ON THIS YEAR’S THEME “JUST BE YOU”, MISS OGUNTIMEHIN SAID SICKLE CELL PATIENTS MUST ENSURE THEY WERE WELL EDUCATED, ENLIGHTENED AND BE COURAGEOUS TO FACE THE EMOTIONAL CHALLENGE ATTACHED TO THE CONDITION.

SHE ADDED THAT IT WAS HIGH TIME GOVERNMENT INTRODUCED NEWBORN SCREENING CENTRES FOR SICKLE CELL IN ALL PRIMARY HEALTH CARE CENTRES TO ASCERTAIN THE STATUS OF NEWBORN AND ENSURE ADEQUATE CARE FOR ANY CARRIER.

SOME YOUTHS IN AKURE, ONDO STATE CAPITAL, MR TOYIN BOLA, IFEOLUWA ADERIBIGBE AND ESTHER AKINLOWO THEY WONT GO INTO MARRIAGE WITHOUT HAVE THEIR GENOTYPE AND BLOOD GROUP CHECKED ALONG WITH THEIR PARTNERS’

THEY CALLED FOR MORE ENLIGHTENMENT AND AWARENESS PROGRAMME IN CHURCHES, MOSQUES, SCHOOLS AND RURAL AREAS ON THE NEED FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW THEIR GENOTYPES AND BLOOD GROUPS BEFORE GETTING MARRIED SO AS TO REDUCE CASES OF SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA IN THE SOCIETY.

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