The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reiterated commitment to improving the welfare of sickle cell patients and commended eHealth Africa for donating Rapid Diagnostic Kits to be used for detecting sickle cell genotype in the state.
The governor made the commitment at the commemoration of the 2019 World Sickle Cell Day, held at the Sickle Cell Centre in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
He said the incidence of sickle cell anaemia can be checked, reduced drastically and possibly eradicated if people take the test to know their genotype, especially before marriage and after delivery of babies.
According to him, the state government is concerned about the welfare of sickle cell patients in the state and would continue to collaborate with development partners to improve support to the Centre.
The governor who commended the eHealth Africa for their donation of Rapid Diagnostic Kits to improve genotype testing in the state, said “This is one area we are concerned about. We restructured the Sickle cell Centre last year and some funds were made available to improve facilities at the Centre.”
Programme Manager, Health Delivery System, eHealth Africa, Muhammed Hassan, said the Rapid Diagnostic kits donated to the Centre will help in detecting genotype of about one million people in the state.
He urged government to increase advocacy campaign to encourage people to know their genotypes so as to reduce the incidence of sickle cell anaemia.
He said the organisation is partnering with the Edo State Government for the deployment of the test kits across the state, and urged sickle cell patients to enrol for the state’s proposed Health Insurance Scheme.
He added that the organisation is currently digitising data of about 15,000 patients at the centre to allow for the proper policy formulation for sickle cell patients.
The President of the Sickle Cell Club, Mr Aigbonoga Asekome, thanked Governor Obaseki for his support to the centre and called for speedy passage of a bill to strengthen the operations of the Sickle Cell Centre.