Nigeria Rank Highest in Sickle Cell Disorder, Foundation calls for Legislation on Disease
The Strong Cell Foundation on Thursday, calls on the Federal Government to pass legislation and policies which is aim at reducing the birth of sickle cell patients as Nigeria has the highest cases of Sickle Cell disorder in the world.
The Convener, StrongCell Foundation, Mrs Hauwa Sani while speaking in Abuja at the Warrior 2020 Workshop stated that government should come up with legislation on sickle cell, encourage Nigerians to know their genotypes and make the right decisions before they get married.
She added that the financial implication of treating a sickle cell patient is very challenging such that monies meant for investment and other profit making businesses are diverted to treatment SCDs.
“The medical Bills of treating SCDs are not cheap at all, you are getting out of one crisis, maybe in one month, another resurface, and when you say there is NHIS, HMOS, you start hearing things like re-existing conditions, we can not treat this or that and it is quite discouraging”.
According to Dr. Chika Dibia, a consultant and Heamatologist, more than 100,000 children are born with SCDs, accounting for 8% of annual infant deaths.
Dr. Dibia added that in rural part of Nigeria, only 20% of SCD patient survive up to the age of 5 and by 2050, over 400 people will be living with SCDs.
Dr Dibia on his own part call for a Bill on Sickle Cell as Nigeria currently accommodate highest sickle cell patients and there is no policy on ground to manage it.
He added that more Nigerians risk been born with sickle cell disorder, thus, government should come up with policy and legislation about sickle cell as being done in Tanzania and Ghana
Furthermore, Dr Dibia advised that government should establish bone marrow transfer centres in the 6- geopolitical zones of the country.
“SCDs patients are dying in large number with the rich traveling outside the country for treatments, but they eventually die, so we need the facility available way the 6 Newborn Screening Centres was established”.
Ogunrinde Victoria, Abuja