The Honourable Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire has called on Nigerians to make concerted effort in checking their genotype in other to halt the epidemic of Sickle Cell Disease in the country.
Dr Ehanire who stated this in a press statement issued to newsmen in commemoration of the 2021 World Sickle Cell Day said this will ensure the reduction in the prevalence of sickle cell disease in our country.
According to him Nigeria currently has the highest burden of Sickle Cell Disease in the whole World ahead of Democratic Republic of Congo and India, with an estimated 25% of her adult population being carriers of defective S-gene.
He said the WHO in 2015 estimated that 2% of new-borns in Nigeria are affected by sickle cell anaemia, giving a total of about 150,000 affected children born every year.
He further stated that about 50%–80% of the estimated 150,000 infants born yearly with SCD in Nigeria die before the age of five years and those that manage to survive suffer end-organs damage which shortens their lifespan including stroke
According to him the Federal Government as a result of this statistics has over the years instituted several strategic Interventions to address the challenges of the disease through the Federal Ministry of Health.
He said some of the interventions include the establishment of six centres of excellence for the control and management of Sickle Cell Disease across Nigeria.
“The Integration of the Non-Communicable Diseases including Sickle Cell Disease care and services into the primary healthcare services which he said is an ongoing initiative”.
He also said advocacy and mass mobilization for awareness creation on Sickle Cell Disease and the importance of genetic counselling and testing for Hb genotype has also commenced in some parts of the country amongst other interventions.
The Honourable Minister further revealed government current plan for the immediate future which he said includes; Revitalization and re-positioning of the six zonal Sickle Cell Disease centres for improved Sickle Cell Disease service delivery and access to care for those living with the disease.
“Implementation of the national guideline for the prevention, control and management of Sickle Cell Disease including the protocol for newborn screening”.
“Integration of Sickle Cell Disease care and services into the maternal and child health services especially at the primary and secondary levels of healthcare in Nigeria to improve early identification of cases and enrolment into the comprehensive care for Sickle Cell Disease amongst others.
He therefore said that the 2021 World Sickle Cell Day commemoration with the theme “Shine the Light on Sickle Cell” will gives us a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the increasing burden of SCD and eliminate the negative notion associated with it as well as building synergy with civil society organizations, international institutions and development partners towards the prevention, control and management SCD in Nigeria.