By Emmanuel Elebeke
Chairman, Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria, Prof Olu Akinyanju has appealed to the privileged Nigerians and private sector in the country to support the Foundation in ensuring that Nigerians living with sickle cell disorder do not die of the disease.
He spoke at a public lecture on sickle cell disorder held to mark the 60th birthday ofÂ Mr. Wale Fanu, a person living with sickle cell disease. Akinyanju blamed lack ofÂ funding and inadequate health facilities as bane of management of the disorder in Nigeria.
Akinyanju said establishment of sickle cell centres in every State of the Federation had become inevitable to help reduce the pressure on the only Centre in Idi-Araba, Lagos.
He noted that State governors can no longer shy away from identifying with this initiative to reach the unreached and underserved patients, particularly those in the rural communities.
â€œThere is need for more centres across the country so that we can collaborate with them to reach those with sickle cell disorder who have not been reached. With proper treatment and counseling, Nigerians living with Hb SS can be able to live good and pain free life without necessarily dying before the average life expectancy age of 46 years. We have got to bring this benefits to the rural areas so that their children will not die below 5-15 years.â€
The SCFN Chairman also stressed the need for people toÂ go for genotype text, especially prospective couples. This according to him will help such peopleÂ to know whether they are at risk of sickle cell or not, adding that finding out a childâ€™s status at the early stage is critical as it will enable the parents to commence early treatment to save the life of suchÂ child if found to be positive.
He asserted that early detection even during pregnancy will go a long way in determining the survival rate of the child living with sickle cell anaemia.