By Stanley Onyekwere
As part of activities to mark this year’s sickle cell Day, a non governmental organisations based in Abuja, the nation’s capital, Eyum Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation (ESCAF), in collaboration with sickle cell Support, and Center for School Healthy Environmental Education and Hygiene have taken sensitization campaign to students of secondary schools in FCT.
In particular, the students were comprehensively sensitised on the prevention and treatment of sickle cell disorder.
The organisers of the event said that the programme was aimed at creating awareness about sickle cell disorder, its prevention and management for both senior secondary school students and residents of the Territory, as part of activities to mark the United Nations World Sickle Cell awareness day slated for June 19, every year.
The founder of the group, Audu Sandra Eyum, told journalists in Abuja that this year’s programme is targeted at promoting awareness of sickle cell disorder, educate students on preventive and management measures of sickle cell anemia and encourage warriors (sicklers) to have a positive attitude to life as well as create database for information management and sharing.
Eyum, however, lamented the high cost for the treatment and management of sickle cell disorder, just as she stressed the importance of counselling in the management of the disease.
She maintained that the foundation will continue to serve as an advocate and change agent for services and programmes beneficial to enhancing the lives and well-being of iindividuals and families affected by sickle cell disease.
“Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease of red blood cells which is characterized by pain episodes (crisis) anemia, damaged to organs, and infections, severe anemia, delayed growth, skin ulcers, preapism, stroke, among others.”
He stressed that the best cure for now is to avoid carriers come into marriage, hence counseling is one of the major steps by the Foundation to reach-out to people.
Earlier in her remarks, the guest speaker and Deputy Director in the Private Health Establishment Regulatory Committee, Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCT Administration, Pharm. Nkechi Ezeudu also identified lack of proper awareness as one of the major challenges of sickle cell disorder in the country.
Ezeudu, told participants that absolute faith in God and awareness remain the best option for management and prevention of sickle cell anemia, stressing that the best treatment of the disease is nutrition integrated with faith.
She also noted that if the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation could be sustained, it will go a long way of bringing succor to carriers of sickle cell disease.
She commended the recent agreement between the Federal Ministry of Health and May & Baker for the production, development of regulatory guidelines for the assessment and registration of phytomedicines in Nigeria.
Ezeudu revealed that other researches going on include the use of Tranylcy Promine (anti-depressant) to reverse the sickle cell disease, use of Lemon fast and Hydroxurea for sickle cell disease.
The medical expert therefore advocated for more researches to be conducted in this area, while commending the Eyum Sickle Cell Foundation for sustaining the tempo in creating awareness among students of secondary schools.