By Chioma Obinna & Esther Onyegbula
To reduce financial burden of treatment of Sickle Cell Disorder,SCD, the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta Lagos, is distributing free drugs monthly to registered patients. The hospital is also offering a 50 per cent discount on all non-surgical cases and 10 per cent discount on surgical cases of the disease.
The Centre is one of the selected centres in the South West for management of SCD and a project was inaugurated mid last year to provide facilities manpower, logistic support and possibly funds.
SCD is an inherited blood disorder in which red blood cells contain defective red blood cells that can block small blood vessels, causing severe complications from internal organ damage to stroke. About 200,000 people are living with sickle cell anaemia in Africa. Nigeria accounts for 150,000 cases annually and at least 30 per cent of Nigerians are carriers of the mutant gene, with the prevalence rate at 20 per 1,000 births.
Averagely, a minor surgery for SCD patients would cost a minimum of N200.000 drugs inclusive. Some of the drugs cost up to N1, 000 or more per tablet and patients may be required to take these drugs for upwards of 14-30 days.
Announcing the benefits during a community mobilisation and sensitisation programme for sickle cell control programme, Medical Director of the Hospital and Chairperson, Sickle Cell Disorder Committee, Dr. Yewande Jinadu, said the drug distribution exercise and discounted charges will take place during the monthly stakeholders meeting every second Friday of the month.
“In spite of the fact that health is a personal responsibility it is pertinent to note that it is a major public health concern that requires the involvement of every social fabric which includes the individual, community and the state to protect and promote health,” Jinadu said.
Desk Officer, Sickle Cell Disorder, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Alayo Shopekun, canvassed for compulsory testing for the sickle cell gene in children and adults as a way of creating genotype awareness and premarital counselling for carriers of the gene.
Mrs. Doris Gbemiloye of Genotype Foundation regretted urged everyone to join hands to put an end to the scourge. National Coordinator Non-communicable Diseases Federal Ministry of Health Dr. Anthony Ozoro called for education and enlightenment of the populace on importance of genotyping before solemnizing marriages.