Amidst palpable excitement, singing and dancing, 200 children took genotype test at Ojodu Local Government Secretariat, Lagos State as part of a programme on sickle cell disorder organised by Crimsonbow Sickle Cell Initiative and the local government.
The children, accompanied by their mothers, were from public schools in the local government. Crimsonbow Sickle Cell Initiative also gave gifts to the children just as they were engaged in quiz competition.
Dr. Emoruwa Enefo of Eko Hospital, Ikeja addressed the children on how to prevent sickle cell. She said it was very important for the children to know their genotype. “This is necessary so that children with AS will not make the mistake of marrying someone with AS because two people with AS will produce one child with SS”, Enefo stated. She said the four categories of hemoglobin available are AA, AS, SS and SC. According to her, AA can marry anyone with any of the other three categories. The medical doctor told the children that it is wrong to discriminate against children with SS because being SS carrier is not a death sentence.
She said children with SS can survive and live a healthy life when they are given adequate care, saying the cost of drugs used to take care of sickle cell is not prohibitive.
Miss Timi Edwin, a spokesperson for Crimsonbow Sickle Cell Initiative, said the non-governmental organization was founded about three years ago to give hope to children with sickle cell and their parents. She said the NGO has not got enough sponsorship because most people have a wrong idea that they need huge amount of money to sponsor a programme organized by the NGO.
She disclosed that Nigeria has the largest population of sickle cell carriers in the world and called on government to show more interest in helping children with the disorder. Among the sponsors of the programme at Ojodu are goal.com, M16 Volunteers, Doctors Magazine, House of Heroes and Warrior Story.