THE Delta State Government has said, one out of every four Nigerian is a carrier of the sickle cell disorder trait.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge disclosed this in a special broadcast on radio and television to mark this year’s World Sickle Cell Day in the state.
Dr. Azinge said that Nigeria had the highest incident of the sickle disorder, saying that 23 per cent of Nigerians were affected by the disorder and one in every child born was likely to suffer sickle cell disorder.
He blamed the situation on the lack of appropriate knowledge on the disease, adding that several of our rural women went into marriages without knowing their genotype and applauded the theme for this year’s celebration; “Bone Marrow Transplant’, Cure and Possibilities” as timely, noting that it would engender hope for lasting cure for the disorder.
He further advised intending couples to go for genotype tests to ensure that they were compatible before consummating their relationship.
Azinge disclosed that the introduction of Contributory Health Insurance Scheme by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration would go a long way to facilitate the management of sickle cell sufferers; reduce their morbidity and mortality, maintaining that poverty would no longer be a barrier to accessing qualitative health care for sufferers of sickle cell disease.
He thanked the wife of the governor, Dame Edith Okowa, for her interventionist role to help sickle cell sufferers through her 05 Initiative Programme which had successfully established four fully equipped sickle cell clinics in Sapele, Ughelli, Agbor and Oleh and also planning to build a Sickle Cell Centre in the state’s capital.
Meanwhile a thanksgiving service to mark the Day was held at the Christ Anglican Church Umusadege, Kwale.
According to the focal persons for sickle cell disorder in the state, Mrs. Lizzy Umukoro, the thanksgiving service was to thank God for the lives of those affected by the disorder, who have remained alive despite all odds.
A statement released by the Ministry of Health indicated that the formal celebration of the day would hold today in Kwale, Ndokwa West Local Government Area, with the wife of the Governor, Dame Edith Okowa as a special guest of honour .
The United Nations General Assembly in 2008 adopted June 19 every year as World Sickle Day in recognition of the disease as a public health problem and one of the world’s foremost genetic disorders.