The Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF), an NGO, has appealed to the Federal Government to merge genotyping with immunisation for the prevention of sickle cell anaemia.
Its President, Prof. Adeyinka Falusi, made the appeal on Monday in Ibadan during an awareness walk and campaign organised to commemorate the 2017 World Sickle Cell Day.
“Sickle cell disease is a disorder of the blood and Nigeria is the leader in this problem.
“We have the greatest problem, the largest number of people who can transmit this disease as trait.
“We have the largest number of patients who are receiving care.
“So, we need to attend to this problem and be able to control the disease by letting people know early in life what to do with themselves and make their own informed decision by knowing their genotype on time not when they want to marry.
“We keep appealing to government to merge genotyping with immunisation so we don’t have to tell people to go and pay for it.
“Then, we also want to take care of people who already have the disease.
“They are part of the society; we should have special treatment for them in the hospitals; they are constantly in pain and they have problems.
“So, we want to bring the attention of everybody to this disease so that they can help take care of them and we can also help our youths control these things.”
According to Falusi, one in four Nigerians is a healthy carrier of the sickle cell trait with more than 150,000 babies borne with the disease annually.
Newsmen report that the World Sickle Cell Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 to increase awareness about the disease.