World Sickle Cell Day: Dame Edith Okowa calls for awareness, advocacy to tame disorder

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Wife of Delta State Governor and founder of 05 Initiative, Dame Edith Okowa has called attention to the need for early counseling, screening of new born babies, training of genetic counselors and vaccination against infections as necessary measures to prevent sickle cell disorders in people.

She made the call Saturday in Asaba on the occasion of the World Sickle Cell Day at the Asaba Specialist Hospital, Asaba.

At the event attended by many Warriors, medical personnel, officials of the 05 Initiative, journalists and the general public, Mrs Okowa said the theme of the World Sickle Cell Day “Covid-19 Lock-down and SCD was apt in every sense of the word as there is now a new way of living.

Pointing out that sickle cell disorder is a hereditary health condition that affects millions of people all over the world and caused by genetic mutation characterized by chronic pain She said: “Understanding the disorder, its progression and taking preventive measures cannot be overemphasized. Attention should therefore be given to early counseling, newborn screening, training of health care workers (genetic counselors) and vaccination against infection should also be made to develop scientific. Efforts should also be made to develop scientific research that would focus on solutions to improve the quality of life.”

She said that the mission to care for the sick is a passion of her organization, the 05 Initiative by reaching out to provide succour to both the old and the young with special reference to sickle cell anaemia, adding that it was the reason for the provision of sickle cell clinics across the state,

“We have established 16 functional clinics in Agbor, Ughelli, Oleh, Sapele, Kwale, Koko, Eku, Patani, Out-Jeremi, Orerokpe, Issele-Uku, Umunede, Ogwashi-Uku, Akwukwu-Igbo, Ibusa, Okwe (upgraded) and the model Sickle Cell Centre in Asaba manned by professionals.The sickle Cell Clubs are also progressively bringing succour to our warriors,” Dame Edith Okowa said.

She also pointed out that the recent addition of the variant new born screening machine at the Sickle Cell Referral Centre has greatly improved services. “The testimonies we receive daily are heartwarming, we can boldly say that God is on our side and we are grateful,” she said.

She called attention to the need for more awareness and advocacy, saying: “Let us reach out to the warriors and lend our voice. This can be done through counseling of young people, volunteering and financial support.

Indeed, support came from several organizations and groups who donated medicines, financial support for the treatment of those suffering from sickle cell disorder.

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