Over 500 children in the Makogi community, Magboro, Ogun state have benefitted from the free genotype and blood group test.
It was organised by Dolly Children Foundation in partnership with CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, as part of the activities to mark this year’s children’s day celebration.
Beneficiaries also included children from other neighbouring communities such as Mowe, Ibafo, Wawa, Arepo among others.
As early as 7am that day, these children throng the venue at Makogi Primary School, Makogi, Magboro, Ogun state.
According to Dolapo Osuntuyi, Founder, Dolly Children Foundation, aside from merry making, which is usually synonymous with the children’s day celebration, her organisation decided to celebrate the children this year by letting them know more about themselves in terms of knowing their genotype and blood group.
Osuntuyi revealed that over the years, the organisation discovered that many of the indigent children, which they work with, are ignorant of their blood group and genotype. Also many of them do not know their birthdays.
“Since the foundation is focused on improving the plight of Nigerian children through education and their wellbeing, we decided to partner with an organisation that solely caters for them in the area of health to come in and carry out these tests. That was why CrimsonBow SCI, an organisation that focuses and takes care of people with sickle cell free of charge came in. The CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative partnered with us to do a free genotype and blood group test for the children on a special day like this and we are very happy with this partnership. This is not the first time they will be partnering with us, they have been doing that for some time now and we are happy with what they are doing with us.”
She revealed that whenever the foundation enters into a community to work, it works in collaboration with the community stakeholders such as the religious leaders and the Community Development Association (CDA) who now disseminate the information to the people at the grassroots.
“This is one of the areas we cover and based on our statistics, this community is in the interior. There are still children that walk for about three hours before they get to their school. We brought Stanbic Bank here to do a healthcare centre because there is no primary health centre around here. From our monitoring and evaluation, some of the children we assist here are doing very fine academically and we are happy about that. Some of them have even won a scholarship to private schools because we also partner with private schools around here who also gives the children that are brilliant and pass their examination scholarship to study in their schools free of charge.
Speaking on the activities of CrimsonBow SCI, Aghoagho Okundalaiye, the Project Coordinator, stated that the organisation runs outreaches in communities and moves from state to state to take care of children living with sickle cell for free.
“We go to communities to run free genotype tests and blood group tests for people to ascertain the population of those with sickle cell in a particular community. What we do is, after the screening we get those who are sickle cell into our own group so we send drugs to them. We partner with organizations that have interest in developing communities and we see the sincerity in them. That is why we partner with them because they are benefitting the children in the community. We run the test and reach out to those we found out is sickle cell so that we can commence treatment on them”.
Okundalaiye stated that many sickle cell children die because of ignorant and negligence by their parents, which is why in their clinic, they advise parents and educate them on how to take care of the children living with sickle cell
She therefore, called on the government to beam its searchlight to these groups of people living with sickle cell and create a body in the health system to help.
According to her, maintaining sickle cell carriers is quite expensive. “We need the availability of drugs and the prices of these drugs to go down, because we need to access the drugs to make these children stay alive. We need the government to understand that there are so many sickle cell people amidst us and the drugs are very expensive. The government should assist and help subside the drugs so that they can assess the drugs,” she added.