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Model Sickle Cell Referral Centre Underway In Delta

By Kenneth Orusi, The Ngerian Voice,i Asaba
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One of the ultimate goals of the O5 Initiative, the Pet Programme of the wife of the Delta State governor, Dame Edith Okowa, is the establishment of a model sickle cell referral centre at the Central Hospital, Asaba, for effective management of sickle cell disorder patients.

Dame Okowa, revealed this during the opening ceremony for Intensive Update Course on Management of Sickle Cell Disorder held at the Accident and Emergency Seminar Hall, Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.

The wife of the Delta State Governor who was represented by Mrs. Lizy Umukoro, wife of the state Chief Judge and the Focal Person on Sickle Cell in the State said that the essence of the establishment of sickle cell clinics across state is to provide proper medical attention mostly for children from very poor background who go through pains without immediate and proper medical attention.

Dame Okowa decried the situation where many people still believed that sickle cell anemia is a spiritual case rather than a hereditary health condition which can be managed.

She said that understanding the disorder is progression and taking preventive measures are paramount in its management and hence called for emphasis to be placed on early counseling, newborn screening and training of health care workers, genetic counselors and provision of vaccination against infections.

She stressed the need for more collaborative efforts to be made to develop scientific research that would focus on solutions to improve the quality of life of sufferers.

She added that the fight against sickle cell disorder should not be left for parents and sufferers alone and called for synergy among the line group to ensure a pro- advocate group and support for the alleviation of the disorder.

Earlier, in her address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Minnie Oseji, said that the management of sickle cell disorder is being given priority because of the herculean efforts of the governor’s wife and founder of O5 Initiative who had so far upgraded sickle cell clinics in 11 (eleven) LGAs with the aim of covering the 25 (twenty-five) LGAs.

She said that in order to compliment Her Excellency’s efforts, the Ministry of Health regularly monitors the performance of the Sickle Cell Clinics to sustain Her Excellency’s good work.

Dr. Oseji said that the Ministry is currently seeking partners to support the establishment of an Apharesis Centre for the collection of Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation (PBSCT) for patients with sickle cell and other disorders in the International Sickle Cell Centre to be located in the soon to be commissioned Central Hospital, Asaba.

She said that with the commencement of the State Health Contributory Scheme, the contributors are expecting quality health care and for that to happen, training and re-training of health workers is a must hence this training organized by Federal Medical Centre, Asaba in collaboration with the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, Delta State branch.

A good will message was also delivered by Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Ali, President, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, (MWAN) Delta State.

It would be recalled that a new Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Initiative for the Prevention and Cure of Sickle Cell Anaemia (IPCSCA), set up by its chairman, Ejidike Ugochukwu, has vowed to tackle headlong the prevention and eradication of sickle cell Anaemia across the globe.