Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for increased sensitisation on the choices that lead to the increased cases of sickle cell incidence in society, noting that his government would continue to support sufferers of the health condition by creating the right environment for management of the genetic disease.
The Governor said this in commemoration of the World Sickle Cell Day, noting that advancement in science has brought hope to sufferers of the diseases even as efforts need to be harmonised in deploying new techniques of treatments.
He said the state government is revamping the primary healthcare sector to address challenges in the sector.
According to him, “On this day, we stand with sufferers of the disease and urge them to keep on the good fight against whatever limitations the disease may have foisted on them. The commemoration gives opportunity for reflection on incidences of sickle cell, and reminds us of the work to be done to ensure that more people are not exposed to the trauma that parents or children go through in managing the disease.
He maintained that there was need for increased sensitisation to stem the rise in cases of sickle cell, “It is pertinent to stress that the incidence of sickle cell disease can be checked if more people are aware of the implications of marrying people with genetic make-up that can cause their offsprings to become carriers of the sickle cell genes. Much as it is a matter of the heart, intending couples should be properly guided.”
He added that while advances in science may have made management of the disease less cumbersome, with increased prospects of sufferers for longer, healthier lives, civil society groups and other stakeholders need to work together to curb the increased cases of the illness, and provide support for sufferers.
According to the United Nations, “Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is the most frequent genetic disease worldwide. It is present on four continents: in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Maghreb, in Asia (Middle-East, Arabic peninsula, India), in the Americas, on the North (USA), centre (Guatemala, Caribbean islands), and on the South (Brazil, Surinam, Guiana), in Southern Europe (Southern Italy and Sicily, Greece, Turkey). It is estimated that 500.000 people are born every year with this severe and invalidating condition and that 50 per cent of them will die before the age of five.”