Sickle Cell Disease: NGO Advocates Compulsory Genotype Test for Nigerians

A Non-Governmental Organization, Miss Dee for Sickle Cell Foundation has called for legislation that would enforce compulsory genotype tests for every Nigerian.

According to the Foundation, it would help prevent the pain associated with the sickle cell disease.

Globally, September is marked as sickle cell awareness month. 

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. For millions around the world, their red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C shaped farm tool called a sickle. The cells commonly become stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs in the body, causing severe pain, organ damage, serious infection and stroke. 

The NGOs Founder, Miss Adaora Stephanie Nwodo, said the government must do more by creating awareness to enlighten Nigerians on the danger of being a sickle cell carrier, adding that individuals should also educate their family members, to help stop the pain.

Nwodo, disclosed that the foundation carried out over 1000 free genotype tests and awareness campaigns in schools around Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) since its inception in 2011. 

“Also with the help of the former governor of Akwa Ibom state, who is now the Minister of Niger Delta, His Excellency, Godswill Akpabio, we were able to send our first patient in 2012 to India for skin redrafting surgery and other complications.  

“Since then, we have been managing a few patients around Nigeria that are registered with us, supplying them with their medications monthly, it hasn’t been easy, trust me but I am determined.

“Sickle cell is a cause I’m extremely passionate about. I grew up in a family where I had relatives who suffered this disorder. I have lost family members and friends to this ailment and hence, it hits home for me. Sickle cell is a condition that is completely avoidable and preventable.

“Those suffering this disease which we like to call warriors do not deserve to be born into this life with pain, it was brought upon them by no fault of theirs but ignorance and selfishness of their parents; hence my vow to educate as many Nigerians as I can on the need to know their genotype and the consequences of bringing forth children with sickle cell to the world.

“I will like to say to all warriors out there that they are not alone on this journey, we are here to hold their hands and walk with them. They might fall; they might even stumble but will never crumble. They will always rise up again because that’s what warriors do,” she said.

She disclosed that in its desire to create awareness on the ailment, the Foundation recently produced an awareness movie on sickle cell and life of warriors in Nigeria called the ‘Crescent’ featuring the likes of Senator Dino Melaye, Michelle Dede, Ivie Okujaiye, Yakubu Mohammed, Ayoola Ayola, Iyke Okechukwu, Ifeanyi Kalu, Chioma Omeruah, Tony Goodman, Nadia Butch, Kaziah Omesore and others which was premiered in genesis cinemas in November 2019.

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