Mrs Obaseki calls for national campaign against sickle cell disease

Mrs. Betsy Obaseki

By Jethro Ibileke

Wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, has called for a nationwide campaign to address Nigeria’s staggering burden of sickle cell anemia disease.

She made the call to action during a sickle cell anemia awareness campaign, organized by the Rock Bottom Sickle Cell Initiative, in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady of Edo State.

A Consultant Haematologist, Dr Idubor Nosakhare, who delivered the keynote address, revealed that about 90 percent of the world’s burden of sickle cell anemia disease is shared amongst three countries, namely, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and India, with about 66 percent of the cases domiciled in Nigeria.

Responding to the keynote address, the Edo First Lady expressed concern at the fact that Nigeria holds the highest burden of the disease in the world.

She emphasized the “need for widespread knowledge and engagement in the fight against sickle cell disease”, even as she underscored the importance of “education and proactive measures to alleviate the burden of the disease on individuals and communities.”

Mrs Obaseki also emphasized the crucial role of women and mothers in disseminating knowledge about sickle cell disease and supporting those affected by it.

Earlier in her speech, the founder of Rock Bottom Sickle Cell Initiative, Mrs Tola Olatunji, said the NGO aims to empower, support and educate by sharing stories, listening to stories, providing resources, embracing positivity and opportunities for personal growth.

“Our Initiative offers unwavering support, creating a community where individuals can express their feelings, letting them know that living with sickle cell disorder is not a death sentence and should not limit their potentials.

“As a sickle cell warrior myself, I understand the challenges of sickle cell and we want them to know that they are not alone,” Mrs Olatunji said.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Edo State Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr Omosigho Izedonmwen, pledged to join the Rock Bottom Sickle Cell Initiative to bring down Edo State burden of the disease.

According to her, “Sickle cell disease can be prevented. We can bring down drastically our burden in Edo State which is about 20 percent.

“Today, the Edo State Primary Health Care join hands with you and we look forward to partnering with you end to end.”