The Vice chancellor of Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Prof. Chinedum Babalola has called on the federal government to establish Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) research and treatment centres across the country.
According to the VC, this will lessen the burden of the disease. This appeal was made by the VC, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees, Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF), on Saturday, 23rd April, 2022 in Ibadan. She made this call at the “Dissemination of the Findings of the Study of Prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV among Individuals with SCD”.
The Vice chancellor while speaking said that Nigeria is the epicentre of SCD with an estimation of 150,000 annual births of newborn with SCD and that Nigeria has just one research centre with little or no assistance from the government. She said,
The funding of this study was possible, because we got a grant and support from an international donor, GILEAD Sciences, U.S. For how long are we going to continue to rely on foreigners and international donors’ funding for a disease that is endemic in Nigeria? Many times, we go cap-in-hand to get supports and treatment for people who live with SCD. We need the support of the government in treatment, management, research and awareness of SCD, if we are ever going to reduce the prevalence of SCD in the country.
Furthermore, the founder of SCHAF, Prof. Adeyinka Falusi had earlier on said that the largest SCD cohort study done in Nigeria was the study of the prevalence of HBV, HCV, and HIV among individuals with SCD. In her words, she said,
This study is designed to determine the prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Hepatitis ‘C’ Virus (HCV) and HIV infections, among individuals with and without SCD in the South-West, Nigeria. The study was undertaken to clarify the hypothesis that people living with SCD are at a higher risk of viral infections that can be contracted through blood transfusion. Due to anaemia that is associated with the disease, affected individuals are transfused blood more often than other members of the population. These results indicate that there are improved and effective transfusion safety measures in our hospitals in the South-West, Nigeria. Caregivers are now more informed to take their wards to register healthcare services than in the past. Blood transfusion now has a minimal risk to contracting these infections in South-West region of Nigeria.
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