The Beulah Sickle Cell Clinic on Thursday celebrated her first year anniversary with the distribution of food items, medical needs, walking aids to about 100 sickle cell warriors.
Speaking in Abuja, the Founder, Beulah Sickle Cell Foundation, Mrs. Josephine Olunaike encouraged warriors that sickle cell disorder is not a death sentence as proper management and understanding of the body system can help manage the disorder.
“I am just out to pass a message across. Most importantly, Sickle cell disorder is not a death sentence. With proper management and understanding of how your body system works as a warrior, the disorder can be managed”.
Also, She stated that the concept of the Beulah Sickle Cell Clinic was to sympathize with warriors experiencing severe pains, counsel and encourage them by giving free medication, routine drugs, ensure members do their routine test, check their blood level for other sicknesses like malaria, typhoid and a host of others.
Mrs. Olunaike noted that the clinic holds every second Friday of every month at the federal secretariat bringing together experts such as counselors, hematologists, physicians and psychiatrist who attends to different cases as it relates to SCDs.
Highlighting challenges faced by the foundation, she decried the poor rate of getting financial support and a low rate of awareness, especially in the grassroots.
“The major challenge we were faced with is getting financial support from people maybe because of the economy and maybe if I had done some things on my social media handles I would have gotten one or two support.
“But being committed as an individual to providing free medication to warriors, genotype testing, routine test, etc to about 80 people on a monthly basis is somehow but thank God for sustaining us.
“Though some will want to support but they are expecting a big profile of what we have done and we do not have such profiles”, she added.
Furthermore, she disclosed plans of the foundation by creating massive awareness, intensifying campaigns so as to reach out to more people while rendering help.
“In the next 3-5years every one including those at the grass root level should know about genotype testing. We are trying to break a circle by helping those that are already in it and not add more”, she said.
Also speaking at the event, A warrior and member of the Beulah Sickle Cell Foundation, Mr. Japheth Maichibi expressed gratitude for being an inspiration, reaching out to others through the foundation.
On his part, Japheth berated the poor attention given to Sickle Cell Disorder by the government thus he urged the federal government to help sickle cell warriors by creating sickle cell research centres, standard hospitals, funding schemes, trains and re-training of medical personnel.
“The government has not really tried for us. I see a lot of effort being put into HIV/AIDs, polio, albinism and other illness but I wonder why sickle cell is left out. Not even a single bill passed on SCDs.
“The stigmatization too is hell and there are warriors out there who are intelligent and can work where even a normal AA cannot perform but once an organization knows you’re a warrior, there’s always this segregation.
“We really want to plead with the government to help us, the pain we’re going through is hell. create a centre for sickle cell disorder, standard hospital, and funding schemes for sickle cell warriors because most times when a crisis strikes it is dangerous and could be very disastrous leading to a lot of complications, organ failure, stroke, or heart attack”, he said.
However, Mr Japheth advised that before going into any serious relationship as a youth, first start with friendship, then know your genotype and the genotype of your supposed partner, how it connects and how compatible you both are. The government should also create awareness and sensitize the grassroots on sickle cell disorder.
“And to those who are already in this fight, come out and speak up. We need help and also need to sensitize our community not to stigmatize warriors. Do not see yourself as a mistake, trust God because Sickle cell disorder is not a death sentence”, Japheth added.