By Juliet Umeh
People living with sickle cell disorder, SCD, have called on governments at all levels to intensify awareness about the disorder as a way of reducing the number of cases in Nigeria.
The Richard Coker Foundation, RCF, made the assertion during presention of prizes to students of Faloma Junior Secondary School, Ikoyi, who emerged winners of an Essay Writing Competition on SCD in Lagos.
Speaking at the occasion, a 55-year-old Mr. Ayoola Olajide, who is living with SCD called for increased awareness in the country because many people who are carriers of the sickle cell trait are not aware of it.
Olajide who is President of the Ikorodu Sickle Cell Club, said the carriers produce children with sickle cell anemia when married to other carriers.
He said global estimate show there’s going to be a 30 percent increase in sickle cell prevalence especially in Africa because of ignorance and urged government to intensify awareness.
Speaking on his survival strategies, he said: “Any where I go, I always have bottles of water with me. Sometimes, when you see some of us with yellowish eyes, protruded tummy, or very lean body, usually it’s because the person has not taken enough water.
“If you take as much water as you can, it will wash away all the clogs, water alone is enough to reduce pain. Then our routine medication and also keeping away from mosquito bites because that leads to malaria and malaria tends to decrease the low blood that we already have. Also, there’s need for balanced diet,” he explained.
The students of Falomo Junior High School who won 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions got prizes of N75, 000, N40, 000, N25,000 respectively.
The co-founder of the Richard Coker Foundation, Mr. Baba Jallah-Epega said the literary initiative is part of an annual programme in conjunction with the African Sickle Cell News & World Report, to promote sickle cell awareness through reading, writing, sharing personal stories and reasoning among junior students in public schools in Nigeria.
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“A similar exercise took place in June 2019 with three selected junior secondary schools in Lagos. The Foundation will not rest until SCD is finally reduced.”