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Tuesday, 27 September 2016
‘People With AA Genotype Can Still Suffer From Sickle Cell’ Sickle Cell
Awka – Experts have warned that people with AA genotype can still be treated of Sickle Cell disease type if they have thalassemia trait in their blood cell.
Dr. Mrs. Victoria Fumilayo Odesanya of Global Sickle Cell Alliance Incorporated, United States of America, handed this warning at the flagg-off of a pilot training programme for doctors and nurses in Anambra State on the screening of newborn for sickle cell disease.
Dr. Odesanya said at the training which took place at Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku Awka, that emphasis had been shifted to training of medical practitioners in the management of the newborn babies because of the over 150,000 babies born in Nigeria with Sickle Cell disease every year, many of who die before age one.
She said the treatment of the disease was inadequate but that if nurses and doctors are trained on the management of the patients and educate their parents to take proper care from their infancy, the patients would live to adult age.
Dr. Odesanya emphasised that early treatment of the patients to help them prevent infection is the key to saving the child Sickle Cell patient.
She also listed the number of infections that must be tackled and managed in a Sickle Cell patient to include the pain episode – the crisis, the fever, malaria, pneumonia and stroke all of whose consequences are death.
Most importantly, she said, management is the key because of the stigmatisation.
While declaring the training open, Dr. Lawrence Ikeako, the Chief Medical Director of Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, who was represented by the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, said the partnership with the American experts was consummated in 2013.
He lamented however that the state has not quite provided as much logistics as it could but that he, as the then Commissioner of Health who represented the state at the time of the agreement would rather use his own money to provide them.
Ikeako said that the state would do all it can to like genetic counseling to prevent deaths from Sickle Cell disease.
Asked the number of people living with Sickle Cell in Anambra State, Ikeako said that statistics obtained in the last seven months shows that 50 children were born with the disease during
Dr. Azubuike Nweje, Director of Medical Services in Anambra State, described Sickle Cell as black man’s burden, saying it was the first time the ministry was screening newborn babies.
He said that the state does not screen for the sake of screening but finds solution to the problem.