Association Buries Over 100 Sickle Cell Patients In Anambra

… says church responsible for sickle cell diseases

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

The Association of Persons Living with Sickle Cell Anaemia says it has buried no fewer than 100 of her members in Anambra state between June and September this year.

National Coordinator of the association Aisha Maureen Edwards disclosed this to our correspondent in Awka yesterday.

She said the way and manner in which members of the association were dying made her to even prepare for her own last moments adding that the trauma and psychological effects of living with such medical condition was unbearable.

Edwards noted that the rainy season was not the best of season for persons living with sickle cell diseases because during rainy season there is a high rate of deaths of sickle cell patients.

She however traced the origin of sickle cell diseases to the exchange of marital vows in churches where she observed that those consummating marriages did not bother to inquire about the genotype status of intending couples.

She also disclosed that some medical practitioners have continued to exploit persons with sickle cell disorder in the guise of providing supplements to cure the scourge stressing that a certain commissioner in Anambra used members of the association to play politics in 2014, wondering why the said commissioner didn’t use his good relationship with the governor to get him to assent to sickle cell bill.

Furthermore, Edwards posited that “in the last 5 years we are over 100 that are dead in Anambra. The situation of sicklers are worst than that of widows. Again, the wife of the governor would be kind enough to empower some of these widows. Do you know that these widows turn around to sell these items to sicklers.

“Most divorce cases you see today are caused by sickle cell anaemia. So it is a multi-faceted monster that is eating up the society more than HIV/AIDS. Sickle cell crisis is excruciating. Even the clergy who consummate marriages and also officiate in burial ceremonies of sickle cell persons have not bothered to find out what is delaying the governor’s assent to the law to make it active.

“So we are pleading with Governor Willie Obiano to overcome all bottlenecks and sign the sickle cell bill into law so that persons living with sickle cell disorder will have their rights and privileges as enshrined in the law passed by the 6th assembly of the Anambra State House of Assembly.”

However, the state commissioner for health in Anambra Dr.Vincent Ogochukwu Okpala said government was doing more than enough to ameliorate the conditions of persons living with sickle cell diseases in the state.

Okpala said government had ensured that they were captured in the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that they had access to subsidized healthcare packages.

The commissioner also stated that government would address issues of mobility, assent to the sickle cell bill as well as other pressing problems as enunciated by the association of persons living with sickle cell disorder. He expressed confidence in the governor’s disposition to attend to the needs of sicklers.

He therefore stressed the need for newborn screening to be able to identify and tackle the scourge of sickle cell from point of birth, pointing out that with the proactive measures government was embarking on, the scourge of sickle cell diseases would be reduced and people would live better lives devoid of severe health conditions like sickle cell and a host of others.

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