Abuja – The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), on Tuesday, said it would establish bone marrow transplant centres in teaching hospitals in the country’s six geo-political zones, to cure sickle cell anaemia.
Prof. Alex Akpan, the Director, Medical Biotechnology of the agency, who made this disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said the centres` headquarters would be in Abuja.
“The agency is interested in bone marrow transplant, which is the only known important technology to cure sickle cell disease, common to black men all over the world.
“Bone marrow technology is very expensive and we are trying to bring the price to where it can be affordable to everyone,” he said.
Akpan said the agency was working on a plan, in which the children of the poor could access the treatment through subsidised funding compared to what would be paid by the rich.
According to him, those within the rich and the middle classes will pay for the service fully.
He said that the agency would seek the assistance of donor agencies, philanthropists and good-hearted individuals to donate into a pool of funds to care for the children of the poor.
Akpan recalled that former President Goodluck Jonathan had given NABDA approval for the execution of the project, adding that lack of funds had been the main challenge to execute it.
The director added that the agency was currently working on DNA fingerprint project.
According to him, DNA fingerprinting can be used for identifying paternity, providing evidence in criminal cases, identifying people and determining a predisposition for diseases.
He told NAN that NABDA was intensifying efforts on the need to partner with the private sector both in the country and abroad in order to advance the DNA technology. (NAN)