Pfizer, Genotype foundation educate local communities on sickle cell
With the prevalence of Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD) in the country, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and Genotype Foundation have called for intensified campaign to educate the local communities on the threat the disorder poses to the nation. Currently, Nigeria is leading with the highest number of people living with the disorder, accounting for most under five mortality. This is as a result of poor requisite knowledge of the disease. Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affects haemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. People with this disorder have atypical haemoglobin molecules called haemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent shape.
Medical Director Pfizer, Dr. Kodjo Soroh in his remark said: “Despite the high incidence of Sickle cell disorder in Nigeria, little is still known on the cause. The management of the disorder is still a big challenge, especially in rural communities. Increased awareness is key to reducing the burden because there are also proper management plans for people living with it to live normal lives”.
Executive Director, Genotype Foundation, Mrs Doris Gbemiloye, said that as a body their activities help to prevent and control the disorder through information, communication and education, as well as screening and counselling as a contributing factor to reducing the high rate of child mortality and maternal morbidity across the nation. She said it is the custom of the foundation to stage an enlightenment programme every September, to create awareness on the management of the disease as well as seek support for people living with the condition.
Gbemiloye said that the objectives of the foundation is to help people especially the young, discover their haemoglobin genotype and blood group in order to take necessary action to prevent the occurrence of sickle cell disorder which is aimed at creating adequate awareness at the grass root level and examines every side of important and controversial issues on sickle cell in an atmosphere of reasoned argument and respectful discourse.
She said the programme would help a lot of people to know about issues surrounding their genotype and blood group and also to reassure the populace that having the disorder does not mean you will die young rather with appropriate diet and medication the patient can live a very long and healthy life.
Meanwhile, Head of Department Haematology, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Dr. Ajibola Sanders said, sickle cell is a genetic disorder which is inherited that affects the red blood cells.
Sanders said that the sickle cell posses’ abnormal cells that lack haemoglobin causing the cells to be in disorder and cannot perform its functions effectively.
He continued: “The red blood cells are meant to live up to 120days but it can stay 20 days as a result of the disorder which also causes shortage of nutrients and oxygen to the body. It also results to yellowish eyes, swollen legs, pale look, swollen abdomen and legs ulcers.”
The expert advised the patients to always attend their clinic days, and interact with their caregivers on any issue bothering them, because they are in position to help find solution to all challenges of their patients, for better healthcare outcomes.
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