The Federal Medical Centre in Ebute-Meta, Lagos, has called on those yet to know their genotype to avail themselves of the hospital’s services.
By doing so, the hospital said a significant reduction in people living with the Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD) will be recorded. According to the centre, one out of every four Nigerians has sickle cell trait.
According to the Acting Medical Director, Dr Olubukola Aseru, over 300, 000 children are born annually with SCD, and 70 per cent of these births happen in Sub-Sahara Africa.
He said: “Nigeria by virtue of its population stands out as the most affected country in Africa with annual infant deaths of 100, 000, representing eight per cent of infant mortality. One out of four Nigerians has sickle cell trait; therefore, people need to be sensitised about the existence, consequences, prevention and care of SCD. The first step is to undergo genotype screening, and abide by medical counsel of the results.”
Describing the condition, he said Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders, which affect hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. Haemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. People with this disorder have atypical hemoglobin molecules called haemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle or crescent shape.
Going by this year’s theme: “Sickle cell disease-importance of comprehensive management”, Dr Aseru said the hospital conducted free genotype screening of pupils and interested persons through the hospital’s Sickle Cell Disease project office. “When results are given and are SS (HbSS and HbSc) there will be a need for a comprehensive management of the disorder. This holistic approach goes beyond treating the biological and physical manifestations of the disease such as crises and complications, but also encompasses strategies aimed at reducing the prevalence and burden of the disorder and putting into consideration the psychosocial and economic impacts on the person, the caregivers, the family and the society as a whole,” he explained.
The centre’s Consultant Family Physician, Dr Usman Olagoke said the SCD Project office opens from 8:00am to 4:00pm, every week day andnon-governmental organisations can assist people with SCD because home care and hospital care of those living with SCD have become increasingly complex and expensive.
“These people need help in the area of subsidising their medical expenses, equip healthcare facilities, rehabilitation and reintegration of SCD patients, who have had irreversible complications, promote research works on SCD, and get involved in the awareness drive and vocational training,” he said.
Culled from The Nation