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Sickle cell: NGO begs govt to curb spread, conducts 4,000 genotype tests


CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative (SCI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, on Saturday appealed to government at all levels to mitigate the spread of sickle cell and mortality of patients at the grassroots level.

Miss Timi Edwin, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CrimsonBow SCI, made the appeal at “Project GeneEducation”, a public awareness and advocacy campaign for sickle cell prevention and management organised at Ipaja area of Lagos State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised in partnership with “Street2School Initiative”, an NGO supporting the education of vulnerable out-of-school children.

She said: “Federal Government can come in through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). State governments’ health insurances can come in to help these patients begging for help.

“The Federal Government and the state governments can pump money for a lot of patients to access health care and live. We need to demystify sickle cell.

“It is only a death sentence if carriers don’t have the proper care. It is not a death sentence when people have the care. A lot of parents live old now.

“There is a lot more to do to stop bringing into the world children with sickle cell . Sickle cell is our plague, we need to cure it.”

Edwin said that the initiative had been doing a lot to mitigate pains and agonies of sickle cell patients, adding that the foundation had conducted genotype tests for more than 400 children in the area.

“Today, we are doing our last outreach for the year. We started last year May and we have covered 10 communities in different local government areas of Lagos State,”

She said the initiative was taking the sickle cell message across and sensitising people so that they do not endanger the next generation.

“We conduct genotype test for them to identify people living with sickle cell already, inform them on who they can marry for reproduction. We have conducted about 4,000 tests in the last one year.

“We also bring them under our other projects, especially a monthly free health clinic where doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other medical practitioners attend to them.

“Here, the patients see medical practitioners and get medications for free. They run blood test also for free and other services,” she said.

Edwin, who noted that most people were still uninformed of the disease, said all hands must be on deck to check the spread.

She said that funding was a challenge, adding that the group needed more partnership with government, coperate organisations and spirited individuals to save more lives.

According to her, the initiative gives variety of food items to people to draw them closer in the awareness and advocacy campaigns.

Edwin also commended the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) for providing a one-year free health insurance to 150 sickle cell patients to enhance healthcare for them, urging the agency to do more.

Speaking, Mrs Oluwatosin Olowoyeye-Taiwo, the Founder of Street2School Initiative, said that her initiative supported the education programmes of vulnerable children.

She also commended the foundation for its commitment to saving lives.

Olowoyeye-Taiwo said that a lot of parents were ignorant of sickle cell while many of them resorted to herbs when their sickle cell children were in crisis.

“The coming of Crimson Bow means a lot to us because we have series of cases with children that are sickle cell carriers going through crisis. This advocacy is an eye opener,” she said.


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