BY AUGUSTINA OKINEDO
Offering moral support and words of encouragement to people living with sickle cell anaemia have been decribed as some of the ways to help eliminate the stigma usually attached to the disease.
Some stakeholders who spoke with Positive fm in Akure, Ondo state on the occasion of this year’s world sickle cell awareness day were of the opinion that stigmatising people on the basis of their health condition kills faster than the disease.
Sickle cell disorder is one illness that affects the red blood cells and It is passed to a child from parents who have sickle cell traits.
Sickle cell disorder causes normal round red blood cells to become stiff and sickled shaped, stopping it from carrying enough oxygen round the body.
This development causes severe pain which is refered to as crisis.
According to medical experts, People with sickle cell disease are at the risk of coming down with stroke, bone damage, organ failure among others.
More severe are the physical and psychological stigma the society attached to the medical condition as attested to by some sickle cell warriors.
A medical consultant Dr Annette Akinsete expressed displeasure that not much awareness was being done to sensitize people on sickle cell disorder and the dangers of stigmatising sufferers.
A sickle cell advocate Mrs Doreen Colins harped on the need for parents, family members and friends to always give the sickle cell warriors moral support through prompt care and words of encouragement to help boost their self esteem in the society.
Another medical expert with the department of family medicine fmc owo, Dr Akintunde Akinyugha advised youths who were yet to know their genotype to do so even before venturing into any relationship to avoid increasing the number of sickle patients in the world.
Dr Akinyugha also encouraged parents whose children had been diagnosed with sickle cell disease to seek proper medical attention in government approved hospitals.