President, Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF), Adeyinka Falusi, has disclosed that over four million Nigerians are living with sickle cell ailment, and said that no fewer than 40 million people are with the traits.
Falusi, a Professor of Medicine, while lamenting the increase in number of sickle cell cases in the country noted that the patients, sadly, receive very little care.
The expert on sickle cell disease, therefore, called on the Federal Government to establish neonatal screening services at health centres to ensure early detection of the disease.
He said that if the neonatal screening services were established in the country, sickle cell disease prevalence could be reduced to the barest minimal level.
Speaking at a news conference, he pointed out that, “Nigeria has the highest number of people with sickle cell disease all over the world and added that “Care givers could detect if a child has the sickle cell disease from a day old of birth when neonatal screening is carried out.”
He pointed out that SCHAF, as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), facilitates improved care and empowerment for those with sickle cell disease.
Also, as a way of alleviating the plight of patients, Falusi called on the government to provide more medication and subsidise drugs that were out of reach for patient who couldn’t afford it. This was just as he proposed that the study of sickle cell disease should be included as a subject in school curriculum so that children could have knowledge of the disease at tender age.
“It is not proper that one only gets to know about the disease when one gets married or about to get married. It is wise to let our wards know about it early,” he said.
Falusi, however, advised patients with sickle cell disease to take their drugs often and avoid herbal mixtures or unorthodox drugs they know nothing about and called on philanthropists, religious leaders, private establishments to support NGO’s that provide care to sickle cell patients .