Experts harp on life saving measures for sickle cell patients


L-R: Consultant Haematologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Adewumi Adediran; National Director/CEO, Sickle Cell Foundation, Nigeria, Dr. Annette Akinsete; Chairman Sicle Cell Foundation, Profesor Olu Akinyanju; Air Line Staff, Caverton Airline Ms Joy Okebalama; representative permanent Secretary of the ministry, Director, Diseases Control Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Eniola Erinosho, at the commemoration of world sickle cell day, held in Lagos recently.

Poised to reduce the alarming rates of mortality and excruciating pains in people living with sickle cell, medical doctors with specialty in Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) have suggested bone marrow transplantation, good nutrition, mandatory screening policy, comprehensive and holistic management as life saving measures for sickle cell sufferers.

The experts, who converged at the National Sickle Cell Centre, Lagos, on June 19, 2015 to commemorate the World Sickle Cell Day, took turn to advise the patients on best options available for the management of the disorder, and possible means of staying healthy.

Fielding questions from journalist, Dr Adediran Adewumi, consultant dermatologist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, said sickle cell is an unwanted guest in Africa, which was brought about by genetic mutation, and it has done a lot of damage to Africans.

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His words: “To get rid of this disease, bone marrow transplantation is the sure way out. Also, if our government could make sickle cell screening policy mandatory from secondary schools through to intending couples level , the spread of the disease can also be curbed. Another alternative is for our government to adopt the European policy with a deadline of transforming our sickle cell patients to normal patients through bone marrow transplantation”.

Another specialist on strokes in SCD, Professor A. A. Akinsulie asserted that comprehensive and holistic management from birth will go a long way in cutting down on SCD crisis. He said the implication of this is that a mother must know a child’s genotype from birth, in order for proper care to takeoff from birth. “Preventive health care like the provision of folic acid, good nutrition and proper hydration, will put the children in steady state. If by the age of two, a child with the tendency to develop stroke is monitored with a Transcranial Doppler (TCD), then such stroke can be preventable.

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The representative of Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Eniola Erinoso intimated the participants on the activities of the state government in giving succour to people living with SCD, stating that the government has recognised the plight of this group of people and has provided free medical treatment for children under 12 years with the condition, describing it as the most prevalent period of the disease in children.

“We have finalised the treatment guideline for the management of Sickle Cell Disorders and machinery has also been put in place towards developing a comprehensive state policy on Hemoglobinopathies. A key component of this policy would be support for enlightenment activities at all levels with particular emphasis on young persons who are yet to be committed in marriage to their partners”, he stated.


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