By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of activities to commemorate the 2020 “World Sickle Cell Day”, an NGO, Society To Heighten Awareness of Women And Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA), stormed the Sickle Cell Centre in Benin City, Edo State to celebrate with sufferers, otherwise called champions.
The Benin, based NGO, apart from providing them with refreshments, paid for their Packed Cell Volume (PCV) screening and Consultation and also provided them with gift packs of Prophylaxis, Face Masks and Hand Sanitizers.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited genetic condition that causes the red blood cells to be sickle in shape or to appear crescent like. It occurs when an individual inherits the gene for sickle cell from both parents.
The United Nations set aside every June 19, as a day to commemorate the sickle cell disorder faced by people around the world, especially in countries like the Middle East, Asia, Sub Sahara Africa, inclusive of Nigeria, that are already being plagued with lots of developmental challenges, especially in the areas of health care.
This is because there are very few dedicated health care centres for sickle cell treatments in these developing countries, the standard of living in most of these countries is very low.
Receiving the gesture, parents of the beneficiaries who were full of joy, thanked Friends and Family of SOTHAWACA for the kind gesture especially in the period of the gradual easing off of the Covid-19 lock down, and the economic challenges that resulted from the lockdown that lasted for couple of weeks.
The Management and Staff of the Sickle Cell Centre also appreciated SOTHAWACA and partners for the kind gestures, and for alleviating the financial burden that parents often go through in order to provide quality health care for their children who are sickle cell warriors.
Addressing the beneficiaries, who are patients at the centre, Initiator of SOTHAWCA, Ronke Ojeikere, encouraged them to always go for periodic medical check up and religiously follow whatever advice their doctors at the sickle cell facility gives to them.
She said the hardship patients and their parents go through in managing the disease was what propelled Her team to solicit for funds from their families and friends, as well as their partners to alleviate the financial burden they go through in accessing health care services.
According to Mrs. Ronke, about 100 sufferers were targeted to benefit from the gesture at the Sickle Cell Centre in Benin City, but only 55 of them were on ground, adding that “SOTHAWACA would be back at the Health Facility to distribute the remaining drugs and pay for the PCV screening and Consultation of those who were not available on this historic days.”