Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala has advised
intending couples to know their genotypes before getting married.g
Dr Okpala gave the advice, while declaring open the 2020 United
Nations World Sickle Cell Day, at Saint Andrew’s Catholic Church,
Adazi-Nnukwu, Anaocha Local Government Area.
The event, which has its state theme as ‘Getting Rid of Sickle Cell in
Anambra State,” was organized by the Association of Persons Living with
Sickle Cell Disorder in collaboration with Anambra State Ministry of
Health and Catholic Catechists under Awka and Ekwulobia Dioceses.
According to available statistics, hundreds of thousands of babies are
born around the world each year with this inherited blood disorder
while about ninety-one thousand are born in Nigeria with the disorder
Also, Scientists have revealed that the number of people suffering
sickle cell anemia is expected to increase by thirty percent globally
by 2050 if not checked.
Dr Okpala, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the
Ministry, Dr John Ndibe, maintained that the state government has done
a lot in the area of prevention and management of the sickle cell
disorder through sensitization and public awareness in schools,
churches as well as marriage counseling centers and called for all
hands to be on deck in the fight against the disease.
On her part, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on
General Hospitals and Technical Adviser to the Commissioner of Health
on Sickle Cell, Nwamaka Arinze-Okoh, commended the state
government for enacting the Sickle Cell Disease Bill and called on
parents to educate their children and wards on the importance of
knowing their genotypes before getting married to prevent the disease.
In an address, the National Coordinator of People Living with Sickle
Cell Disorder, APLSCD, Mrs. Aisha Edwards, noted that their
partnership with churches in Anambra State continues to bear good
fruits, calling on the Catholic Catechists to continue to teach
intending couples on the dangers of not knowing their genotype statues
and preach against blood incompatibility without compromise.
In their separate speeches, the Chaplain, Awka Diocesan Catholic
Catechists, Reverend Father Joseph Nwanna and other speakers including
Reverend Kent Ezeikpe, Reverend Sister Nneka Arenye, and Mrs. Chinwe
Nnago encouraged parents that sickle cell carriers could still live
normal life with proper and adequate care.
A medical practitioner, Mr. Obinna Achunike, also gave out testing
kits to the Catechists for used in their various parishes.