Lagos Community Hosts Sickle Cell awareness Campaigners | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lagos Community Hosts Sickle Cell awareness Campaigners

Cross-section of Igbo Elerin residents and NHI staff during the awareness campaign
Posted: Jul 1, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Igbo Elerin community in Ojo local Government Area of Lagos, was recently agog, Nirvana Health Initiative, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) visited the neighbourhood to raise awareness on Sickle Cell Anaemia, which available statistics indicated affected an estimated four million Nigerians, most of them based in the rural areas.

The enlightenment tour, which was supported by Access Bank Nigeria and GSK Pharmaceuticals, was intended to educate the residents that Sickle Cell Anaemia was not a life sentence as people living with it can still live fulfilled lives.

The procession led by Modupe Babawale, a 25 year-old lady, living with the affliction was broken into three groups,  medical, counselling and administrative to effectively cater for the eager participants.

Babawale, who is also the coordinator of Nirvana Health Initiative, noted that she is a Sickle Warrior (not Carrier), and added that the low awareness among rural dwellers is the major bane for the prevalence in Nigeria.

“It is rural outreach where we talk to people about Sickle Cell and run free Genotype and blood group testing. We are also providing free medication for people affected with Sickle Cell.

“This is our first outreach and we are happy to be well-received by the community members. As at half day, we already counted over 200 though we catered for 300. People at the rural community lack access to real information.

“Some of them were initially scared because we have to take their blood samples. But as we proceeded and as they saw some of their people participate, they began to turn up. The outcome has been very encouraging. We ensured that we requested parental consent for children and teenagers below 18”, she said.


Babawale added that the foundation chose to conduct the enlightenment campaign at Igbo Elerin, as part of activities to commemorate the recently celebrated, World Sickle Cell Day, because of ignorance of sickle cell anaemia is more prevalent in the rural communities.

She noted that the organisation was set up in 2015, and that it planned to take its Sickle Cell awareness campaign to other rural communities and educational institutions.

She said that the large number of people affected by sickle cell is compounded by stigmatisation and misinformation.

She regretted that even though a lot of organisations were working on sickle cell that they have not been able to galvanise as those working on breast cancer, HIV and polio. “We need all hands on deck. At the policy level, I think we should institute Genotype and Blood testing from birth. Every child needs to have these details from birth so that we can end Sickle Cell in this generation. But all hands must be on deck to achieve that,” she said.