Proper education would help check the spread of sickle cell.
A group of medics under the aegis of Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation has tasked government at all levels to increase awareness on the sickle cell disease to curb its spread in the country.
Making the call in Ibadan on Wednesday during the 2013 World Sickle Cell Day, members of the foundation said that only proper education would save more people from falling victim of the scourge.
This year’s campaign is tagged “Awareness as a tool for the prevention and control of sickle cell disease“.
During the campaign, the former Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association in Oyo State, Millicent Obajinmi, said Nigerians should be encouraged to go for genotype testing, adding that many of those living with the disease are ignorant of it.
The professor of medicine said the disease is deadly and costs parents of victims a lot of money.
“Today’s effort is one of the global awareness programmes. Today being the World Sickle Cell Day, we are talking about the fact that decision makers sweep the rule under the carpet as if they are not concerned.
“This should not be so. Nigeria has not less than 140 million people and they should not perpetually be kept in the dark on fact about the disease.
“There should be awareness and screening so that our people would be knowledgeable. Many still hold the erroneous belief that it is spiritual, tradition or caused by witchcraft.
“We should create awareness about sickle cell the same way we created awareness on HIV/AIDS,” she said.
Also speaking, the President, Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation, Adeyinka Falusi, said approximately 40 million Nigerians are AS.
“Our concern today is on SS, SC and AS haemoglobin types among Nigerians. One can be SS as a result of inherited genes from both parents irrespective of religion, political class and education”.
Tunde Ajobo, a dietician, urged sickle cell victims to drink lots of hygienic and cold water, adding that eating warm food on time would also help ward off complications.
“They should avoid eating fatty food. It is preferable to give them egg than soft drink. Do not get them depressed,” he said.
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