BY GABRIEL OLAWALE
Hope for better lease of life has come the way of Sickle Cell Disease patients in Nigeria with the acquisition of specialised blood transfusion equipment known as “Cobe Spectra” by nine Federal and State Teaching Hospitals and the Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria, Lagos.
The equipment, which drains blood through one arm while replacing it through the other arm at the same time, was made available by the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation, OOF, and Terumo Europe NV.
Beneficiary hospitals are the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH; University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH; Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, AKTH, Kano and University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, Benin City.
Others are Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, ABUTH,Zaria; University of Abuja Teaching Hospital; Katsina State General Hospital, etc.
Presenting the equipment in Lagos, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said it was to ease the pain of sickle cell patients and also to identify with them.
“I come from humble beginnings and have witnessed many difficult aspects of life. I have been fortunate to have overcome many of these challenges and I feel a deep sense of obligation to give back what I can to the people of Nigeria and Africa” he said.
He said the four focal areas of the Foundation’s humanitarian services centre on advancing security for the most disadvantaged in Africa.
The initiative is driven with initiatives like food and nutrition security through the “Feed Africa Initiative”, addressing gender imbalances through the “Girl Child Education Initiative”, promoting skills acquisition and youth employment through the “Youth Empowerment and Employment Initiative”; focus on the non-communicable diseases and waterborne diseases through the “Health Initiative.
Managing Director, Terumo Europe N.V, Kyo Nishikawa stated: “Safety of blood products is important. Blood and all of its components are essential parts of life. Improvements in donor and blood screening have greatly reduced risk of transmitting diseases through blood and blood products.”