Rotary announces plan to move against sickle cell disease
With an estimated 150,000 yearly births of babies with sickle cell anaemia in Nigeria, the Rotary Club of Lekki Phase 1, District 9110, has announced its plan to donate a Transcranial Doppler (TCD) machine to the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria towards reducing the mortality rate from the disease.
The Imaginative President, Rotarian Yetunde Dimowo, who made the announcement during her investiture as the 16th president of the club recently, said the purchase and donation of the machine to the Foundation was their lead project in the 2022/2023 Rotary year.
TCD ultrasound is a painless test that uses sound waves to detect medical problems that affect blood flow in the brain. It can detect stroke caused by blood clots, narrowed sections of blood vessels, vasospasm due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage, tiny blood clots and more.
Dimowo explained that her experiences with sickle cell patients, some of whom are late, inspired the choice of the project, which is estimated to cost about N27 million.
She said: “When I was growing up, I had a friend, who had the disease likewise her twin brother and the crisis was a lot. At the university, I had another friend, who also had the disease. Whenever she went into crisis, we couldn’t touch her; we used the bed sheet to lift her. Then my husband’s first cousin, a wonderful soul, was a carrier. We lost her two years ago. She had a partial stroke during the COVID-19 pandemic; hospitals around her rejected her because they were scared. We managed the situation and she became okay but we later lost her and it has not been easy.
“Apart from that, I see a lot of children who have sickle cell disease and the pains they go through when they are in crisis. Nigeria has the highest sickle cell patients in the world. It is really heartbreaking. So, if you have human feeling, you will want to lend a helping hand, hence our decision to give a lifting hand through the purchase of the Transcranial Doppler machine, which I know they need.
“I know some people who have taken their children abroad to do bone marrow transplant and their children are living healthy. It is awesome. But we believe the TCD machine is something we should invest in as a club to help people who cannot even afford the medication to check the velocity of the blood in their brain.”
According to her, the club would raise the fund through friends, family and Rotarians all over the world.
“It is not going to be easy but we need to get Nigerians suffering from the disease whatever they need. Even if it’s a hundred families that it will save their children from having stroke, it is something we need to do as a club and as a nation,” she added.
She listed other projects that would be executed by the club during her tenure to include procurement of wheelchairs for government hospitals at N1.8 million; procurement of wheelchairs for Benola Cerebral Palsy Initiative at N900,000; donation of books and school bags to secondary schools at N1 million; donation of cold chain storage and automatic scale to nine Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) in Eti Osa local council to enhance the vaccination of children at N1 million and assistance to 20 people to be vaccinated for cervical cancer at N1.2 million.
Earlier, the Guest Speaker at the event, Dr. Annette Ofunne Akinsete, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/National Director of the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, revealed that Nigeria currently has the highest burden of sickle cell disorder in the world.
She disclosed that there were 50 million healthy carriers in the country, adding that 150,000 babies with the disorder were born yearly out of which 100,000 die before the age of five.