Sickle Cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that makes the red blood cells assume a sickle shape thereby leading to blocking of blood flow, destruction of blood cells and inability to get oxygen to all parts of the body leading to pains, anaemia that is shortage of blood and infections among others. Apart from the medical challenges affecting them, they are also faced with socioeconomic concerns in areas like schooling, employment opportunities, relationships/marriages as well as high level of stigmatization.
To mark this Year’s World Sickle Cell Day Celebration with a theme Keeping hope alive in COVID-19 outbreak; as set aside by the United Nations for every 19th day of June, the wife of the Executive Governor of Cross River State Dr Linda Ayade while declaring the event open called on all Sickle Cell warriors to always look on the grand side of life, see themselves as Angels sent down from heaven to proffer solutions to mankind. Her Excellency who was ably represented by the State Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu went further to call on the legislative arm of Government to pass laws that will protect the rights of people living with sickle cells. She called all stakeholders across the Country and the World to support people living with sickle cells disease as burden of care is usually heavy for most families .
“At a trying time like this where the entire World is going through unimaginable challenges and the difficulties of being confined due to COVID-19, the Economy is dwindling, Health Sector worse hit by pandemic and rate of Job loss rising, one can only but imagine what families with sickle carriers and the carriers themselves are going through. I feel your pain and will support in my own little way to see smiles on your faces”.
Her Excellency has also promised that the Cross River state Government will be putting up a Bill to the House of Assembly to ensure that you all have equal rights, opportunities and privileges just like every other person out there. Dr Linda has also advocated that all Sickle Cell patients be made automatic beneficiaries of the State Health Insurance Scheme also known as “Ayadecare” without charges and has gone further to donate a truck load of assorted palliatives in commemoration of this day.”
Dr Edu reiterated the willingness of the CRSG to always support persons living with sickle cells disease in all ramifications stating the dynamic and humane nature of Sen Prof Ben Ayade who doesn’t derive pleasure in seeing anyone suffer. She charged scientist to go into further research on ways to improve the living condition of Sickle Cell carriers. She pleaded with health workers to continue care on carriers as some symptoms of sickle cell disease could be easily mistaken for COVID 19.
Present at the event was Prof Merimeku; chairman of event, Prof Ikpeme, CMD UCTH represented by Prof Ngim, Dr Enyiama, Dr Ihenacho HOD Hematology UCTH and others.