BY MIDAT JOSEPH,
Kaduna State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Mohammed Baba, has expressed worries over the increasing rate of Sickle Cell Anemia in Kaduna and Nigeria in general.
Hajiya Hafsat, said “Though Sickle cell disorder is a global health problem, Nigeria is home to the highest population of carriers of the gene (Hb AS). In Nigeria one in every four persons are carriers of the sickle cell gene, a figure well above 40 million.
The Commissioner, during the flag-off a ‘Special Support Programme for Sickle Cell Anemia in Kaduna State’ added that, “It is estimated that over 150,000 babies are born with symptomatic sickle cell anaemia each year in the country.
“These figures are disturbing and present to us a daunting task. This occasion is an attempt to tackle one aspect of the tasks which is medication.
“Other aspects which include research, counseling, genotype testing, pre-natal diagnosis and increased awareness to end stigmatization will have to continue and we hope that one day, a conclusive end to the menace of the sickle cell disorder is achieved and new cases will be a thing of the past.
“It is pertinent to note that these children had no chance to influence how they are born or their genotype at birth, they are SCD patients as a result of decisions taken by their parents and by extension the genetic mutations developed by nature in response to Malaria Plasmodium falciparum.
“For Women with SCD during pregnancy, the disease may become more severe and painful episodes may occur more frequently. A pregnant woman with sickle cell disease is at increased risk of preterm and of having a low-birthweight baby. These are issues that are pressing and need our actions.
“The primary function of ensuring the continuous addressing of these SCD-related issues with regards the general population is with the State Ministry of Health and Human Services, but her Excellency and our Ministry have a responsibility to contribute in their own way, hence this collaboration.”
Unveiling the drugs donated by the State government, Wife of the Kaduna State Governor, Arch. Isma El-rufai, lauds the efforts of the commissioner for her commitment and enthusiasm in handling issues affecting women and children in the state.
She charge everyone to support the project by always ensuring they do their test before getting married, as that is the only way Sickle Cell can be eliminated in the society.