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US Consulate decries low Sickle Cell awareness in Nigeria

By Gabriel Olawale

THE United States Consulate in Lagos has decree low level of awareness around the sickle cell disorder in Nigeria even as they blamed lack of systematic screening and inadequate training of healthcare professionals.

Speaking during a round-table summit organized by the Sickle Cell Advocacy and Management Initiative (SAMI), in partnership with the United State Consulate and Eko FM, Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate, Mr. Russell Brooke said that the problems that occur due to sickle cell can be severely interfere with an individual’s education, work, psychosocial development, and basic survival.

“The most severe forms of the disorder can cause children to die before the age of five. Unfortunately, systematic screening is not a common practice in Nigeria. Routine screening for sickle cell could save many lives and improve the quality of life for those living with the disorder.

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“In a population with a high rate of the disorder, early detection can help Nigeria mitigate this particular obstacle to its development and prosperity. Education and training of healthcare professionals is also required.

Speaking on the theme; ‘Sickle Cell Challenges: A reflection on past, present and future’, the Executive Dir./Founder of the initiative, Toyin Adesola, emphasized the need for all hands to be on deck in creating and sustaining the needed awareness concerning the sickle cell scourge.

Adesola called on everyone in the society to take the issue of sickle cell disorder to heart as that is the only way that the condition can be dealt with; when the awareness is widespread. In his Keynote Address, Mr. Foluso Philips, Chairman, Philips Consulting and Chairman, Board of Sickle Cell Advocacy and Mgt. Initiative, Mr. Philips noted that Nigeria has the highest number of sickle cell sufferers in the world, with over 4 million people currently having the disease.

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He said the more society is educated about Sickle Cell, the more society would  accommodate it and the less embarrassing it would be for people having the condition.”

The roundtable discussion is part of a larger project aimed at creating awareness with a 30 minutes radio show tagged, ‘Touch a Cell with Toyin and the Gang’, airing by 4.30 pm on Eko FM every Thursday since October 2018.

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