Professor Adekile sues for gov’t support


From  Gideon Arinze, Enugu

A professor of News,  and The Chairman, Sickle Cell Support Society of Nigeria, Prof. Adekunle Adekile has called on the government to support the sickle cell society in order to reduce the burden of the disease in the communities

He made the call during a three-day conference organized by the sickle cell support society of Nigeria in Enugu with the theme: reducing the burden of sickle cell disease in our communities.

According to Adekunle, Sickle cell is a disease that is common all over the world, particularly in Nigeria which has the largest burden with a total number of over 1,500 children born every year with the disease.

Adekunle said that the problem of sickle cell is so pervasive and many of the patients leave in the rural areas and the care in the tertiary or secondary centers is not enough.

He regretted that the government has not paid adequate attention to tackling SDC while noting that the disease cannot be controlled until a comprehensive national policy for the control and management of they patients is introduced.

“The government established 6 centers for the screening of the patients all over the country, but a lot more needed to be done else a lot of the children with the disease will die even before they are 5 years”

Speaking further, he said that a bill was presented to the national assembly on the control and management of the SCD four years ago, but the bill has not passed the committee stage.

“We must change our orientation on how care is provided for the patients and ensure that we adequately empower our primary health care workers in the communities”

On her part, the Director, Corporate affairs Pfizer for sub-saharan Africa, Mrs. Magaret Olele said that Community networking is critical to achieving the aim of reducing the burden of sickle cell in our communities.

She noted that sickle cell is not a death sentence even as she advised parents to always identify with organization that are committed to tackling the sourge of the disease.

Also speaking during the conference, the Director, Comprehensive Sickle Cell Centre in Ghana, Professor Kwaku Frempong said that most people who are born with sickle cell disease in Africa are not diagnosed and many of them die as children.

He observed that governments are not aware of the impact of SDC on childhood mortality while noting that there is no country in the whole of Africa that has programmes for new born screening.

"Our governments must step up measures and provide some supplements so that people can be treated as the medical cost is usually beyond what people can manage” he said.

Sickle cell support society of Nigeria is an umbrella body that brings together professionals, advocates and other interested parties both within the country and in the diaspora to tackle different aspects of sickle cell disease.

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