A medical expert, Prof. Edache Okpe, has advised the Federal Government and other organisations to support more research and awareness toward curbing the spate of sickle cell anaemia.
Professor Edache Okpe, the Head of Department, Paediatrics, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), gave the advice at an event to commemorate the 2022 World Sickle Cell Day recently in Jos.
The event was organised by the department in collaboration with the Media Initiative for Sickle Cell.
According him, the disease could be prevented only if government will support more research and educate the people on the preventive measures.
The expert, who decried the surge in the cases of sickle cell anaemia in the country, also lamented the paucity of manpower in paediatrics hematology field of medicine.
“Over the years, NGOs, international bodies and governments have been voting a lot of money and time into research as well as care for people living with HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria and others.But non seems to be putting anything in the direction of research, care and support for sickle cell anaemia and yet we have millions of Nigerians living with it.As I speak, we see between 50 to 60 patients every week in our sickle cell clinic here in JUTH yet we have just few doctors attending to them.
“Sickle cell is a condition that can easily be prevented and so we have to commit a lot of attention toward preventing this disease through proper awareness creation and research,’’ he said.
Okpe also called on government and organisations to support the training and retraining of medical personnel in this field, noting that it would produce enough professionals that would tackle the rising cases of sickle cell anaemia in the society.
He, however, advised intending couples to go for premarital genotype test, adding that such move would drastically reduce increasing cases of the disease in the society.
Okpe hinted that early dictation through early infant diagnosis and cure was very important in fighting sickle cell anaemia and if diagnosis were done early, the cure will be such that it will minimise further complications that usually leads to death.
“So, we are advocating for more public enlightenment on the diseases, aside the June 19 world sickle cell day, we hardly hear talks or jingles about its prevention and cure. More needs to be done if we really want to tackle this disease in our society,’’ he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Dr Njem Miner, the acting chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of JUTH, commended the paediatrics department, particularly the sickle cell clinic of the hospital for hosting the programme.
Miner said that such event would further create awareness and senstise patients and caregivers on ways to go about the care and prevention.
He promised that management of the hospital would continue to support the department in order to keep up with the great works it had been doing.
The event which had a large of number patients, caregivers and parents in attendance, featured talks, with some sickle cell patients sharing their experiences.
The 2022 world sickle cell day marked on June 19, had as its theme: “Shine the Light on Sickle Cell Anaemia’’.