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Mary Oyohosuho Phillip: Govt should make health facilities accessible to sickle cell patients

By Esther Ijewere
04 February 2023   |   4:10 am
Mary Oyohosuho Phillip Is a sickle cell warrior, advocate, Confidence Coach and Skin Care Consultant. She is the first Sickle Cell Warrior in her family, out of three of five kids.

Mary Oyohosuho Phillip

Mary Oyohosuho Phillip Is a sickle cell warrior, advocate, Confidence Coach and Skin Care Consultant. She is the first Sickle Cell Warrior in her family, out of three of five kids. Mary suffered severe sickle cell complications and was bedridden for three years, which resulted in deformity. She has managed to further her education up to higher institution walking with two sticks. 

Mary’s experience as a sickle cell survivor is a tool she continuously used to inspire, motivate and encourage others. She goes to schools, churches to share her survivor story.

In this interview with ESTHER IJEWERE, the founder of Jesus Girls Club, Int’l shares her inspiring story.

Childhood Influence
I can truly say that my childhood prepared me for what I am doing today. While growing up, I watched my parents give their all to serving humanity and affecting the life of people positively. I have admired and wished to affect people’s lives, just the way my parents were doing. That has given me that push in life and has brought me to where I am and what I am doing today.

What Inspired Me To Be A Sickle Cell Advocate 
What basically inspired me to be a sickle cell advocate is first, me being a sickle cell warrior and having two other siblings being warriors too in the family. Secondly, losing my younger brother to sickle cell. Thirdly, how sickle cell got me deformed; all the excruciating pains, discomfort and all that comes with it.

Going through all this, I became dedicated in creating sickle cell awareness for people to prevent birthing children with the sickle cell disease.

Jesus Girls Club
Going by all the social vices that we hear daily in our society, which affect the girl child, I always get heartbroken and think of a way to change the narrative. Social vices like early pregnancy, rape, molestation, sexual abuse etc. when I hear and watch young ladies in other part of the world doing amazing things in their different fields of endeavors, this challenges and motivates me to want to groom and teach teenage girls starting from my community, to my country and to the world at large on having good morals, building a healthy self esteem self discovery and purpose driven life.

Another major thing that motivated me to start Jesus Girls Club was when I heard that in this age and time, teenage girls still make use of cloth pieces, that is rags, to care for themselves when on their menstrual flow, which is unhygienic to their health. This broke my heart completely.

The Journey So Far 
The journey since I started my organisation has been full of ups and downs. At the beginning, it was going smoothly, but along the way, many obstacles and challenges came up.

At one point, I gave up completely, but my passion for this vision brought me back on track.

There are so many challenges, but first is lack funds. Since after my NYSC, my inability to get a job was a big challenge in carrying out my vision, but the little business I was doing and the passion kept the vision running.

The second challenge was reaching out to these teenage girls in remote rural communities that are not accessible by road; I don’t sit so well on a bikes. So, in general, funds and mobility are my major challenges.

How My Work Inspires Sickle Cell Advocates 
Am certain that my work has inspired other sickle cell advocates, because so many warriors always reach out to me in my inbox, telling me how I inspire and motivate them to do better in their advocacy.

Other Projects And Activities
There are so many other projects and activities lined up for my organisation. First, getting my foundation registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) ready so I can operate officially.

Presently, there’s a project at hand called Back To School Campaign. My organisation will be providing writing materials such as notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers etc for children in public schools whose parents can’t afford those materials for them. There are many other projects coming up and this is a call for people to sponsor and partner with me in achieving this.

What I Enjoy Most About My Job
What I enjoy most about my job is seeing smiles on the faces of people we reach out to. My prayers to God when I was growing up, was that God should use me as a channel to bring joy into the life of people. So, for God to help me in this little capacity, gives me great joy and I want God to bless me more to do greater exploits and reaching out to more and more people within Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. That will be my greatest joy.

Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
Since I began this Journey, there are three powerful women I have seen & they inspire me greatly they are Esther Ijewere [Founder, Women Of Rubies], Dr. Adesoye Tosin (Founder Sickle Celebs) and my mother Mrs. Blessing O. Phillip.

Esther Ijewere is one woman I love so much; she inspires me. Since I came across her on Facebook, I always rush to her page everyday to read what she has posted. I admire her strength; her supporting women and generally, I classify her as beauty & brains.

The Second woman that inspires me so much is Dr. Adesoye Tosin, the founder of Sickle Celebs. When I began the journey of advocacy for sickle cell, the first woman I came across with the same issue as mine is Dr Tosin. I thought to myself, ‘if a young lady with sickle cell can go study a course as tedious as Medicine and still do well in it, then she’s worth emulating’ and this got me inspired.

The third woman that motivates me is my biological mother Mrs. Blessing O.philip, a woman who is my first teacher, doctor, prayer warrior and caregiver. A woman that never stopped loving and caring for my siblings and myself after the demise of my beloved dad, despite our many health challenges. My super hero, my strong support system, my disciplinarian, but correct in love, I admire her strength, perseverance, and doggedness.

On The Stigmatisation Of Sickle Cell Warriors
One thing I will say to people who stigmatise sickle cell warriors is that ‘Stigmatization Is Very Bad.’ No one chose to be born with sickle cell or any other health challenge. Stop stigmatisation, show love, empathy to sickle cell warriors. Do not discriminate; we deserve to love and to be loved in return.

What Government Should Do To Support Sickle Cell Warriors
The government should make the health facilities and health insurance available and accessible to sickle cell patients in our hospitals. Routine drugs and medical checkup should be provided or made cheap for sickle cell warriors/caregivers to afford.

Being A Woman Of Rubies 
I am an extraordinary lady who lives an exemplary life for the younger generation to emulate. A go-getter, a warrior who never gives up, I’m fearless, courageous and tenacious. A lady who works towards leaving an impactful footprint on the sands of time

What I Would Say To A Young Person On The Verge Of Giving Up 
Giving up should not be an option; embrace life to the fullest. Believe in God, and yourself and hope for a better tomorrow. Put in your own efforts, because there’s a price for every prize.