Dr. Samson Sule, a Consultant Paediatrician at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, says sickle-cell disease is not a death sentence.He clarified that in Lokoja at the inauguration of an NGO, SAMVIC Eneche Health Trust Fund, a project of Sickle-Cell Anaemia Intervention.
According to him, sickle-cell is an inheritable, genetic and fatal disease which causes red blood cell disorders and may lead to death, if not properly managed. “Sickle cell disease (SCD) is not the end of life and not a death sentence, if properly managed with adequate knowledge and support the patient will survive”, he said.
The consultant, who delivered a special lecture on sickle-cell anaemia, also said adequate management could prevent patients from having frequent crisis.“Once you have ‘S’ gene in your blood, you are a carrier of the sickle cell but not the disease itself; all the same, you must be careful in selecting your life partner.The SS genotype is due to the abnormal formation of sickle-shape cell, instead of the normal disc shape of the blood cells, ’’he said.
He, therefore, advised parents to know their status and encourage their children to do same, noting that preventing it is the best thing to do,adding that parents who have children with the disease need not regret as it can be managed through adhering to taking drugs and regular check-ups.
He advised that sickle cell patients should also avoid traditional practices that involve blood shedding, such as tribal marks and circumcision.
In his remarks, the Director, of the Trust Fund, Mr Maxwell Eneche, said the initiative would be implemented through Total Child Care Initiative, to coordinate interventions relating to the prevention of sickle cell disease.
He said the NGO intended to support primary prevention through awareness and counseling, screening, clinical support, capacity building in human resources and improve patients’ quality of life.
According to him, the NGO will also collaborate with other organisations and individuals to reduce the effects of the disorder through awareness, advocacy and support.
He said the trust fund was established in memory of two siblings: Samuel and Victor Eneche, who died of sickle-cell anaemia.“The Trust Fund will keep their memories alive through humanitarian contributions to the lives of vulnerable children who are not the cause of their health crises.
“Our vision is to have a Nigeria free of SCD by 2040 and a mission to provide support for sickle cell patients in Nigeria, through Advocacy”, Eneche said.