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Assist Us With Ambulance Buses, Other Mobility, Sicklers Urge The Nigerians

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

The Association of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder (APLSCD), an umbrella body of sickle cell anemia sufferers in Nigeria, has reiterated the needs for well-meaning Nigerians to provide them with ambulance buses and other logistics with a view to save their lives during crisis.

Speaking to newsmen in Awka, the capital of Anambra State, on the national sickle cell clinic recently built and equipped for them by an Anambra born business mogul, Engr. Arthur Eze, APLSCD Coordinator, Aisha Maureen Edward explained that the mobility would ease their transportation problems while in crisis, as well as at the course of their advocacy and sensitisation tours round the country.

Edward, who noted that the medical edifice domiciled at Ukpo in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State was furnished to address their myriads of health challenges such as psychological imbalance, ulcer of the legs, and so on, free of charge, adding that the vehicles when provided will assist in conveying sufferers living far away from the town to access the world standard clinic manned by qualified and highly experienced medical practitioners.

That was even as the APLSCD coordinator hinted that plans were on the way to establish similar clinics at the nooks and crannies of the state and beyond through people’s contributions to the association.

“The association does not claim superiority over anyone as we live in the light of humility. We have promised to run out all fake associations and we have achieved it. Setting up a National Sickle Cell centre has been my dream. I never knew it would be in Anambra state. I come from a state that has a governor with sickle cell patients who hide them, while the wife champions the cause of VVF. My predecessor and mentor was from Umunze, Anambra state - Dr Ikeakor Chidiebere. I’m sure she would be smiling wherever she is now because her legacy lives on”, she added, while directing her members residence in Anambra to always contact Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) phone numbers supplied to them at their various zones.

While commending the roles played by the media, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), NMA and other relevant stakeholders like Engr Arthur Eze, Peter Obi, Chief Nwobu-Alor, Rev. Fr. Okechukwu Ebebe, etc in one year the association came to the fore, the APLSCD boss enumerated some of their feats to include payment of members school fees; house rents, skills acquisition and empowerment with funds, advocacy and sensitisation of the public on the need to undergo genotype test before marriage and what members must do while in crises, building an institution that will be stronger and bigger than church, etc.

She however, regretted that the Anambra State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike and his ministry, who never attended their 2016 World Sickle Cell Day, despite been contacted with correspondences, later conveyed theirs with an alleged funds the state government allegedly provided for APLSCD 2016 World Sickle Cell Day.

The APLSCD further enjoined the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate alleged fraudulence activities allegedly perpetrated by the Commissioner, one Dr Okafor and one Chudi Mokebe of Orient Sickle Cell Foundation so as to bring the culprits to book, because according to her, there are no facts to substantiate their claims that the state government had equipped hospitals or clinics to carter for the sicklers, even as the sum of Nine million naira (N9 million) being budgeted each year for screening of sickle cell patients in accordance with the Anambra State Sickle Cell Law 2002 had never been accounted for.

Lamenting his ordeals on the hands of fake NGOs masquerading as sickle cell associations prior to APLSCD registration, a victim, Mr Stephen Enemo, from Umuife village, Urum in Awka North Council Area of Anambra State, whose daughter—Uchechi is a sickle cell carrier, recalled that he had sold all his lands in the village and donated most of the funds to the nonexistence organisations, yet his daughter received neither drugs nor empowerment, even as his three other SSS carrier children died as a result.

All effort to hear from the state commissioner, Dr. Joe Akabuike proved abortive as he did not respond or return his calls to recant the allegations meted on his person and the ministry.

Meanwhile, when visited his office, Mr. Chudi Mokebe of Orient Sickle Cell Foundation, pledged to address the press on Friday after he might have met with the health commissioner.