Wed, 17 Jul 2024

 

Chrisland Varsity VC, Prof. Babalola says 40million Nigerians carry Sickle Cell Anaemia disease, highlights challenges forestalling total eradication
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Fri, 21 Jun 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

The Vice Chancellor of Chrisland University, Ogun State, Professor Chinedum Peace Babalola said that Nigeria has not less than 40 million people living with the Sickle Cell Anaemia Disease.

She noted this in a Keynote Address delivered on Wednesday, 19th, June 2024, at the World Sickle Cell Anaemia Awareness Day 2024 marked by Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF) in honour of Late Chief Adeseun Ogundoyin.

According to her, the huge number of victims of this genetic disease in Nigeria is why there must be focus on the country, stressing the complications such as crises, stroke etc faced by the patients.

Referencing the occasion, she said “reading through his profile, I was overwhelmed. I spent time checking online to find more stories about him. I think we need to populate the media with his information. This day is a reminder of the challenges faced by those living with Sickle Cell Disease, but it is also a celebration of the remarkable progress we have made and the unification of our brighter future.”

“We are here to foster hope, and highlights the strides been made by the fight against sickle cell disease. As I was preparing, I discovered that in the United States of America today, even though every June 19, has been set apart by the United Nation as the World's Sickle Cell Day, and the goal is to recognised Sickle Cell Anaemia as a public health problem and promote education about this genetic condition,” Babalola said.

While underscoring the challenges of people living with the disease, she stressed that the disease has no respect for anyone, describing it as the most prevalent genetic disease. She added that the inherited disease does not acknowledge anyone’s religious or political class neither gender nor social status.

She lamented that many complications surround carrying the disease, stating that “these warriors and so they are real. However, we have survivors including chief Ogundoyin. He was a survivor, and he was an achiever. So, people living with this disease have challenges, but I had the privilege of meeting with many of them who despite their struggles, have achieved incredible and great feats.”

Speaking further, Babalola gave a list of individuals who have survived the disease and have accomplished great feats in life laying emphasis on the Ogundoyin family for establishing the Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation in 2012. She commended the efforts of the NGO and the Founder, Professor Gladys Falusi whom she described as her mentor.

Highlighting the many efforts of SCHAF, the Chrisland VC explained that the many programmes and initiatives of the foundation have made tangible differences, adding that “as we reflect on the progress, let us recognize more work that needs to be done.”

“Each of us has a role to play and together, we can build a future where we can no one suffers. Let us commit to community advocacy, enhanced health care, increased education, to ensure every single sickle cell person can live fulfilling a healthy life.”

She also noted that about 200 books have been published and distributed to the patients and parents for proper usage where there are no doctors, explaining that SCAF is blessed with a multidisciplinary team of nurses, pharmacists, researchers, and students.

Stating the challenges of the NGO, she listed funding, saying that “just like we have we have support group for HIV, we should have a support group for the Sickle Cell. That is where they can discuss their pains.”

Babalola furthered that lack of insurance is another challenge. According to her, the way forward is to provide insurance for the patients and increase awareness of the disease via blogs and the generality of the social media.

The Chrisland VC canvassed for support, urging the attendees to join their hands with SCHAF to promote the goals of the organisation.

 

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