SAMI JOINS COALITION TO MARKS WORLD SICKLE CELL DAY
As part of activities to mark the June 19th designated World Sickle Cell Day Sickle Cell Advocacy and a group of other non-governmental came together to hold a joint charity walk in an effort to bring the issue of Sickle Cell Disorder to the front burner. The group which formed a coalition of sickle cell NGOS comprising of SAMI, Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, Dabma Sickle Cell Foundation, Genotype Foundation, Tony May Sickle Cell Foundation, Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF), Couple and Kids Initiative, Marvel Sickle Cell Foundation, Crimson Bow Sickle Cell Initiative, Noah’s Ark Foundation, Soulage Foundation, Nirvana Initiative and KAL Foundation held a charity and awareness walk tagged RED UMBRELLA CHARITY on the 17th of June.
The walk which 7km kicked off at the grounds of Eko Atlantic through to Ahmadu Bello, Adeola Odeku and back to Eko Atlantic brought together people from all works of life including the staff of one of SAMI donors Midwestern Oil and Gas. Raising their umbrellas, the people walked , danced in their mix of red or white, distributing pamphlets holding posters and banners enjoining people the importance of knowing their genotype to make proper choices and showing support to people with sickle cell.
Speaking at the event representatives of the coalition said the walk was aimed at creating awareness as well as advocating for the recognition of the disorder as major public health problem in Nigeria. They opinioned sickle cell had not been given priority and more are more families go through this traumatic disorder. They further reiterated the need for a new born screening policy for early detection of children with sickle cell so as to increase life expectancy; increased education of medical personnel on sickle cell issues as well as the hope that one day there will be health policy focused on.
Nigeria has the highest number of people living with Sickle Cell Anaemia Disorder (SCD) in the world, affecting over 4 million people. Sickle cell disorder is the most common inherited blood disorder in Nigeria. A baby born with sickle cell disorder inherits an S gene for the disorder from both parents who are carriers
It is estimated an average of 150,000 children are born with Sickle cell each year, out of which only 25% might live which is more out of ignorance than the disorder itself where over 40 million people are healthy carriers of the sickle cell gene. However sickle cell disorder is no longer a death sentence as with modern health care and proper management people with sickle cell live well into their 50s, 70s and even over 80.
World Sickle Cell Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 in order to increase the awareness about the sickle cell disease and its cure among the common public