Sickle Cell Anemia: Gowon Urges FG to Step-up Interventions to Curtail Scourge

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Kasim Sumaina
In a bid to reduce incidence of sickle cell anemia in the country, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has urged the federal government to as a matter of urgency, do all it can to step up interventions to tackle the sickle cell scourge.

Gowon while lamenting the inability of his administration to do anything about the disease, stated that, had it been known to him back then, the devastating effect of sickle cell anemia, his government would have taken steps to combat the disease.

The former Head of State while speaking recently to newsmen during the public presentation of two books written by a Senior Pastor of Foursquare Gospel Church, Asokoro, Babajide Olowodola in Abuja, said, “I hope the government will take it more seriously to assist in this particular case especially when you hear that 75 per cent of cases of sickle cell disease in the world occur in Nigeria. If I have known, I would have done something about this during my time that there was that particular problem in Nigeria and I think this is what this government should do. But, let there be contribution from the general public in order to combat the disease.”

According to him, it was sad to know that globally, 75 per cent of sickle cases in the world occur in Nigeria, I therefore urge the federal government to step up sickle cell interventions in the country. “I appeal for genotype education for intending couples in the country in order to prevent the complications associated with disease.”

Speaking in same vein, former Minister of Health, Pro. Eyitayo Lambo, gave assurance that the disease would be managed effectively by medical practitioners within the country.

“The government is paying attention to sickle cell. With time and with what many foundations are doing, with the work that is going on in research, looking at some of the drugs manufactured and used by these people, very shortly it will be possible to manage sickle cell.”
As a former minister of health, “I will endorse a simple test by intending couples to know their genotype because it is clear that if you have a certain genotype you should avoid getting married to somebody with certain genotype.

While lamenting the absence of first class medical facilities with modern equipment to tackle complicated disease such as sickle cell anemia in the country, the author, Olowodola, called for deliberate medical interventions to revamp the nation’s health sector.