Caverton Helicopters brings hope to persons living with sickle cell disorder
IN furtherance of the corporate social responsibility ideals, Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc (COSG) (Bloomberg: Caverton NL), the leading provider of marine, aviation and logistics services to local and international oil and gas companies in Nigeria, is partnering with the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria (SCFN) to help persons with sickle cell disorder (SCD) live normal lives.
CEO of Caverton Offshore Support Group, Bode Makanjuola, recently presented N10m donation to the Foundation to pay for joint replacement surgery for persons with avascular necrosis of the hip and shoulder joints. The donation was received by the founder and chairman of SCFN, Professor Olu Akinyanju, (OON).
SCFN was established in 1994 for the purpose of driving sickle cell research, providing appropriate care for affected persons, educating on proper management of the disorder and to drive the establishment of State Sickle Cell Centres across the country (www.sicklecellfoundation.com).
SCD is a genetic disorder that is a life-long condition, which is curable only by stem cell transplantation. With appropriate management, persons affected by SCD can lead better quality lives.
In Nigeria, one in four persons carries the sickle cell trait (HbAS) and over 150,000 babies are born each year with sickle cell anaemia (HbSS). Most of these children die in infancy due to lack of care, ignorance and misinformation.
With education and care, the lives of the babies can be improved and much prolonged into adulthood. Avascular necrosis (AVN) occurs when the bone at the head of the femur withers off and can no longer fit properly into the hip joint leading to pain and difficulty in walking and moving around.
Patients with this condition most times are unable to live a normal life of going to school, to work, etc. The replacement surgery is expensive ranging from N2 million in Nigeria to N7.5 million when performed in South Africa and India.
Thankfully, the surgery can be performed at the National Orthopedic Hospital in Igbobi, Lagos. Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Mr. Bode Makanjuola thanked the Professor for the good work he is doing at the Foundation.
“He is a great doctor of our generation and hopefully our small token will bring succour to the patients. In his own response, Professor Akinyanju stated: “We are happy and very grateful that COSG decided to help about five patients who require the surgery.
I have known the COSG founders for many years and I’m happy to have them support our joint replacement initiative.”
Caverton had also made a donation of N5million in 2011 towards the installation of solar powered lights at the National Sickle Cell Centre to address the challenges with burglary due to lack of proper lighting at night.
The Foundation, which is a non-profit organization, is calling for support from individuals and corporate bodies.
In 2008, the United Nations declared June 19 to be observed every year as the World Sickle Cell Day (WSCD) in order to raise worldwide awareness and support for SCD.
Activities lined up in Lagos for this year’s commemoration of the WSCD include: a media workshop on Sickle Cell reporting and Advocacy on Thursday June 11; Community Awareness Program in Epe LGA with free haemoglobin genotype tests for about 500 people on Saturday June 13; a Schools Quiz Program for Secondary School Students on Tuesday June 16; a Symposium where experts will discuss SCD and draw attention to sickle cell programs and services in Nigeria on the WSCD, Friday June 19 at the National Sickle Cell Centre; and a Public Information and Education Session in collaboration with the Health Services Commission of the Lagos State Government at the Yoruba Tennis Club, Onikan, on Wednesday June 24.
The theme for the World Sickle Cell Day this year is ‘SCD: Life Saving Measures.’