By Suzan Edeh
Bauchi-No fewer than 88 sickle-cell sufferers in Bauchi State have died between January and June this year alone.
The Chairman of Sickle Cell Anaemia Association of Nigeria, Bauchi Chapter, Hajara Sani disclosed this to newsmen Tuesday in Bauchi.
Hajara Sani lamented that the disease was claiming lives at an alarming rate in the state, calling the urgent attention of government and all stakeholders to address the trend.
She said: “We don’t get help from the state government and there are more than 4,000 sufferers in Bauchi Local Government Area alone.We currently have 47 patients seeking medical attention and out of this number 22 are experiencing crisis which require emergency”.
She attributed the high mortality figure to the inability of patients to receive timely blood transfusion, medication and proper nutrition as most family cannot afford it.
“If nothing is done, several suffers will die because this week alone we have 22 admitted patients experiencing crisis.In one particular week alone recorded four deaths,”Hajara Sani who has two children born with the disease, said.
She called on Governor Isa Yuguda to assist themlike other states used to assist sickle cell anaemia sufferers.
When Vanguard visited the Primary Health Care centre at the State Low Cost Housing and saw many sickle cell anaemia patients and their family waiting for succour.
Many were seen on the bare floor as there were not enough beds to accommodate the large number of patients while two patients share a single bed.
A housewife, Halima Sani was in the centre, said: “My two children have really suffered.
Rukaiya is two and Auwalu is 19. These suffer crisis almost at the same time. I have been here for three days now. I spent N2950 on Rukaiya while Auwalu’s treatment has gulfed over N6, 000 this week alone,” .
The nursing mother also lamented that she and third child who is only nine months have to sleep on the floor while her two children share the bed.
“I appealed to the government to build the hospital we have in Nassarawa. This place is too small and mosquito won’t let us rest even in the day time,” she said.
In his reaction, the state commissioner for health, Dr Sani Mallami is not aware of the figure of deaths given by Hajara Sani as he has a surveillance committee that give him monthly reports of deaths.
Dr Mallami said that the state government gives free treatmentz to sickle cell patients and this was being carried out at the hospital in Tashan Babaye.
“Most of them preferred to visit the Umar Yar’ Adua PHC Centre in Nassarawa which is inadequate to cater for them. We have asked them to go to the facility at Tashan Babaye where they are being treated”.
Also responding, the Executive Director, Primary Healthcare Agency in the state, Dr Nisser Ali Umar, said although the PHC centre in Federal low-cost is used by most of the sickle cell patients, the agency does not treat complex cases such as Sickle cell anaemia which is handled by secondary healthcare givers in hospital.
Dr Umar said the centre was given out temporarily pending the completion of the 300 bed Specialist Hospital because the handing over of the Specialist Hospital Bauchi now converted to a teaching hospital.
He expressed surprised that complaints were coming from sickle cell patients and their relatives blaming it on mischief makers.
“Some time ago a staff attacked a woman who had brought a patient to the centre and as a result the governor who received the news ordered for reposting of all the staff in the centre.
“We believe these staff who have since been reposted are the ones instigating some people to come out and say that sickle cell anaemia patients are not being taken care of in Bauchi”