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Indian clinic holds sickle cell anemia treatment awareness



BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) at the weekend held an awareness to educate people on sickle cell anemia, blood disorders, blood cancer and the treatment. It took place at the National Sickle Cell Center, opposite Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba. It was the second awareness in Nigeria by BMT, with the first held in Abuja on Friday.

BMT clinic is an initiative by Dr. Vikas Dua, a Paediatric Haematology Oncologist and Bone Marrow Transplant specialist in Fortis Healthcare Limited, India. The aim of the initiative is to spread the knowledge of sickle cell anemia, blood disorders/blood cancer and their treatment by Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant, which is the only cure.

Dua and his team have taken the awareness to countries, which have high prevalence of the diseases. These countries include India, Eastern and Western African countries and Asian countries. According to him, Nigeria has the highest percentage of sickle cell anemia patients in the world. The increased number of patients is caused by ignorance and limited spread of the disease information on how to eradicate it.

Dua and his team has performed more than 500 successful Bone Marrow Transplants for sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia, lymphoma, myeloma, thallassemia, leukemia and other blood disorders/blood cancer patients across the globe, including India, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.

BMT clinic has been offering treatment and care at affordable cost. Getting treatment from BMT cost about $24,000, which can be paid in instalment and it covers medical bills and logistics.

During the question session, participants asked questions on the age of one who can receive the treatment, who can be a donor, if genotype will change and whether every sickle cell anemia patient needs it. In response, Dua said there is no defined age for one who can get a transplant, citing the successful transplant on a five months old patient. He said the donor must be one year old and above. The best options for donor are siblings or parents, but can still come outside the family.

On the change of genotype after transplant, he said the genotype of a patient would change from six months to one year after transplant. He said any patient that lives a normal life with few crises does not necessarily need a transplant.

In his closing remarks, he said BMT clinic is working hard to have a place in Nigeria to enable them do transplant, hence cutting down cost for patients. He added that it would take some years, because it requires a lot of things. 

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LUTHVikas Dua
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