The World Sickle Cell Day celebration in Umuahia has brought up the assertion that Nigeria rank highest in number of births associated with sickle cell disease (syndrome) in the world.
Experts in the medical field disclosed this with a released data as evidence to prove that the country has the highest figure of the disease, which according to statistics, had been thriving as early as 187 and was perceived as spiritual ailment – “Ogbanje” in Igbo land or “Abiku” in Yoruba.
What Is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle Cell Disease, SCD, was documented in western countries in 1910, it describes a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. People with SCD have abnormal haemoglobin, called haemoglobin S or sickle haemoglobin, in their red blood cells.
Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
“Inherited” means that the disease is passed by genes from parents to their children. SCD is not contagious. A person cannot catch it, like a cold or infection, from someone else.
People who have SCD inherit two abnormal haemoglobin genes, one from each parent. In all forms of SCD, at least one of the two abnormal genes causes a person’s body to make haemoglobin S. When a person has two haemoglobin S genes, Haemoglobin SS, the disease is called sickle cell anemia. This is the most common and often most severe and fatal kind of SCD.
The experts, Godwin Onuoha, Oluchi Ukoha, C. O. Nwabuko and.Onuoha said about 4 million people were suffering from the disease in the country while 30% of them were child carriers.
They noted that 5% of the children living with the disease would live up to 10 years of age, while 95% died before clocking 10 years of age adding that in some western countries, they lived up to 50 years of age.
Chairman of the occasion themed, “Reducing The Burden of Sickle Cell Disease in Our Communities”, Mr. Mike Enyinnaya thanked the wife of Abia Governor, Nkechi Ikpeazu for showing “milk of human kindness” by building houses for the poor, sponsoring medical treatment for the indigent and for her intention to build Sickle Cell Centre in the state.
Speaking also, the wife of the state governor, Nkechi Ikpeazu disclosed that her pet Project, Vicar Hope Foundation, VHF was partnering with other bodies dedicated to fighting for the reduction in the frequency of various debilitating disease, ameliorating the suffering of the people and helping children become better future leaders.
The First Lady said;
“I have strong passion for things to do with sickle cell. This is why I choose to make sickle cell matters the centre point of what we are doing at Vicar Hope Foundation.”
Mrs. Ikpeazu said she was taking cue from the wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari, and called for support from Nigerians in other to take the activities of her foundation to the next level.