By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”Edo State Government has advised religious leaders and traditional rulers to educate intending couples on the need to confirm their genotype, to check the spread of sickle cell anaemia in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Moses Momoh, who gave this charge,Â yesterday on the occasion of the World Sickle Cell Day in Benin, said Nigeria has the largest sickle cell gene pool in the world,Â with 24 percent of the population carrying the gene responsible for Sickle Cell disease.
According to him, â€œabout 20 infants have the disease out of every one thousand births, it means that in Nigeria alone, about 150,000 children are born yearly with sickle cell anaemia,â€ stressing the need for religious leaders in the state to make concerted efforts so as to reverse the trend.
The Commissioner said, â€œthe state government under the leadership of Mr Adams Oshiomhole, has commenced the repositioning of the Sickle Cell Centre to meet its enormous challenges.
The Centre is currently undergoing massive infrastructural renovation and medical equipments have been procured awaiting installation, immediately after completion of on going works.
â€œMy Ministry will continue to provide free needles and syringes, anti malaria drugs to the center to ward off mosquitoes and manage cases of malaria,Â which is a major cause of illness and death among sufferers of the disease,” he added
It is much better to bring forth healthy, safe and loved children, than children that will cause us anguish, but also pain to themselves due to no fault of dears.â€ he said.