As part of the activities to mark this year’s Sickle Cell Day, an Abuja-based nongovernmental organisations, Eyum Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation (ESCAF), Sickle Cell Support, and Center for School Healthy Environmental Education and Hygiene, have carried out a sensitization campaign for secondary school students in Abuja on the prevention and treatment of sickle cell disorder.

Organisers of the event explained that the programme was aimed at creating awareness about sickle cell disorder, its prevention and management, for both senior secondary school students and residents of the territory.

Founder of Eyum Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, Audu Sandra Eyum, told journalists that this year’s programme was meant to promote awareness of sickle cell disorder, educate students on preventive and management measures of the anaemia and encourage carriers of the disease, to have a positive attitude to life, as well as create database for information management and sharing.

Eyum, however, lamented the high cost for the treatment and management of sickle cell disorder, just as she stressed the importance of counselling in the management of the disease.

She maintained that the foundation will continue to serve as an advocate and change agent for services and programmes beneficial to enhancing the lives and well-being of individuals and families affected by sickle cell disease.

“Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease of red blood cells, which is characterized by pain episodes (crisis) anaemia, damaged to organs, and infections, severe anaemia, delayed growth, skin ulcers, prepism, and stroke, among others.”

The founder stressed that the best cure for now is to avoid carriers from coming into marriage, adding that counseling is one of the major steps, by the foundation, to reach-out to people.

Earlier in her remarks, the guest speaker and deputy director, private health establishment regulatory committee, in the Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Pharm. Nkechi Ezeudu, identified lack of proper awareness as one of the major challenges of sickle cell disorder in the country.

Ezeudu noted that absolute faith in God and awareness remains the best option for management and prevention of sickle cell anaemia, while the best treatment of the disease is nutrition integrated with faith.

She maintained that if the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation could be sustained, it would go a long way of bringing succour to carriers of sickle cell disease, just as she commended the recent agreement between the Federal Ministry of Health and May & Baker for the production, development of regulatory guidelines for the assessment and registration of phytomedicines in Nigeria.