PRESIDENT, Chiemma Empowerment Foundation and member, Sickle Cell Monitoring Team, Chinwe Nnagbo has said that the foundation would by second week of February, commence genotype tests in primary and secondary schools in Anambra State.
Mrs Nnagbo, who made this known during an interview with National Light, said that the programme was rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, called on government and good spirited individuals to come to the aid of children living with sickle cell.
She pointed out that children living with sickle cell need to be saved from discrimination, given sense of belonging, provided with routine drugs, pay their hospital bills, be given free medical care and aid in registering them with Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA).
According to Nnagbo, “sickle cell cannot be cured. It can only be managed till death. 80 per cent of patients living with sickle cell are from poor homes; sometimes born out of wedlock and it is difficult to pay their hospital bills.”
Nnagbo said that to end this ailment, the public needs to be sensitised so that sickle cell rules will be kept and the masses will be able to detect laboratories that are good enough to run tests and produce accurate results, while young people should be guided and make it mandatory for them to run genotype tests before marriages.
On how to get the public to be sensitised, the president of the NGO, said, “ people can be sensitised in schools, markets, churches, amongst others”.
She regretted that some churches are not helping matters as they believe that God is everything and young people can go ahead and get married without genotype test.
Nnagbo emphasised that sensitisation in schools should be from primary and secondary schools where it will be made mandatory for every child to have genotype certificate before offering admissions into schools. She urged parents to enroll their children with sickle cell with Chiemma Empowerment Foundation and register with Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, attend meetings once a month, avoid self medication, while the NGO will assist in providing food, routine drugs for them.
She called on government to support the foundation to have clinics zonally, where there will be blood banks ready to help patients in times of crises.