NGO reiterates commitment to curb spread of sickle cell

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Rotary Club International has reiterated its commitment to stopping the spread of sickle cell in Nigeria. An official of the non-governmental body (NGO), Mr Sagab Ahmed, disclosed this in Ibadan on Monday.  Ahmed who is the Governor of the body’s District 9125 spoke at the Oyo State Sickle Cell Awareness and Genotype Testing Campaign. The campaign was geared towards the youths at the 2023 Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA).

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Ahmed who narrated his experience with a friend’s son said awareness was key in addressing the menace of sickle cell in Nigeria.

“The main thing that will help the spread of sickle cell disease is actually information and educating people on what it is. But policy can also help.”

He stated that the campaign would continue in District 9125 which has 23 states, comprising the 19 northern states, Oyo and Ondo states, Osun, Ekiti and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“We believe that by doing that we will be able to suppress the prevalence of having the disease. And we will continue to conduct tests for people so that they know what their genotype is,” the District Governor said.

In his awareness talk, the Acting Zonal Director, National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), South-West, Dr Oladapo Aworanti, stated that two to three per cent of Nigerians have sickle cell disease. He added that 40 per cent of them are carriers.

“Prevention is the best cure for the disease, and awareness about it should start as early as when a child has just completed his or her Junior Secondary School (JSS) education. Tests must be done early in life, and individuals must know on time and discuss with their doctors,” he said.

Also, Mr Samuel Kolawole, the Oyo State Coordinator, District 9125 Sickle Cell Disorder Outreach Committee, said the outreach had countered misinformation about sickle cell disease.

According to him, Nigerians know little about sickle cell disease and the application of the knowledge was poor, thereby aiding the continuous spread of the disease.

“The facts that people have about sickle cell were not correct and proven. A lot of people left the awareness seminar we had last year better informed and that is what made us continue to reach more people,” Kolawole said.

He stated that the information booklet was revised to accommodate more details and to address the questions raised by people to reduce the spread of the disease.

Kolawole said the outreach supported by 12 Rotary clubs in Ibadan would target younger people at schools so that they know their genotype and its implication for choosing life partners.

The event featured the inauguration of the revised Sickle Cell Disorder Awareness Nugget by Ahmed and was distributed free to all participants