Lagos’ Sickle Cell Clubs ‘Fete’ Self
By Edith Okofu
Members of Sickle Cell Club, Lagos State chapter recently came together to enumerate the impacts, successes and challenges recorded, as well as celebrate the goodness and mercy of God in their throughout the outgoing year.
The event was held at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-araba, Lagos State.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Ago Otaigbe, who was the event’s guest speaker, told members of the Club to always thank God for the improved access to better preventive curative health care of the health challenge.
Otaigbe in her address to the members of the Club said: “It is a pleasure to speak to you all on this day of happiness and celebration. We are here to celebrate the many successes the club and it’s members (our warriors) have achieved this year. This event also presents a forum for members to come together and celebrate the goodness and mercy of God throughout the year. It also enables members to showcase their diverse gifts and talents.
“As you are probably aware, the Sickle Cell Club if Lagos Nigeria, is a charitable non-governmental, non-profit, patient support and advocacy organization dedicated to addressing the problems associated with sickle cell disorder in Nigeria.
“Today we know for certain over 150,000 children are born every year in Nigeria with sickle cell anaemia, while one in every four Nigerian is a carrier of the sickle cell gene. This is by far the largest burden of this disorder anywhere in the world and most of these children would die in child hood from ignorance and lack of access to appropriate care.
“However, I am glad that owning to improved access to better preventive curative health care, more and more persons with sickle cell disorder are surviving childhood and adolescence. A sizeable number of them are now completing educational and job training courses, becoming gainfully employed, getting married and raising their own families.
“They are however still prone to periodic and unpredictable episodes of acute illness known as crises and have, on average, a shorter than normal life span.Much still needs to be done by way of research and creation of facilities to improve the quantity and quality of their lives”.
On the purpose of the Sickle Club, Otaigbe said; “the thrust of club’s activities is to increase public awareness and knowledge of sickle cell disorder through information, education and communication at the community level.
“We also undertake relevant advocacy initiatives through featured articles and interviews in newspapers and magazines as well as appearance on radio and television. The club will continues to collaborate with Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria for capacity development initiatives of health workers”.
The guest speaker also lamented the economy situation in the country which she said poise big challenges in getting assistance from corporate bodies and individuals.
“2019 has been another busy year with many challenges and we are thankful that we survived another challenging year. The economic situation has affected many of our corporate partners/donors with the implication that the coverage of our services are limited by lack of resources and inadequate funding. The improvement we have noticed in the lives of our members is not felt in most parts of the country or even among the millions of the poorer masses in Lagos”, the guest speaker stated.