A Kaduna-based non-governmental organisation, Sickle Cell Patients Health Promotion Center (SCPHPC) is advocating increased awareness on sickle cell disease amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
The centre specifically called on the government to lead the campaign to guide against breeding fresh sickle cell carriers.
Founder of the Center, Hajiya Badiya Magaji Inuwa who made the call during the 2020 World Sickle Cell Day celebrations reiterated that only proper education and enlightenment would save more people from falling victim of the scourge.
This year’s campaign is tagged “Awareness as a tool for the prevention and control of sickle cell disease“.
Hajia Badiya said, Nigerians should be encouraged to go for genotype testing, adding that many of those living with the disease are ignorant of it, “the disease is deadly and costs parents of victims a lot of money.
“Today’s effort is one of the global awareness programmes. Today being the World Sickle Cell Day, we are talking about the fact that decision-makers sweep the rule under the carpet as if they are not concerned.
“This should not be so. Nigeria has not less than 200 million people and they should not perpetually be kept in the dark on the fact about the disease.
“There should be awareness and screening so that our people would be knowledgeable. Many still hold the erroneous belief that it is spiritual, tradition or caused by witchcraft.
“Nigeria has the biggest burden of the scourge globally, hence the need for increased advocacy on its prevention, treatment and management.
“We should create awareness about sickle cell the same way we created awareness on HIV/AIDS”, she said.
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. It was celebrated on June 19 every year.