By: Miracle Enuji
Wife of the Governor of Delta State and Founder O5 Initiative, Dame Edith Okowa has called for more attention to be given to scientific research in the treatment of Sickle Cell Patients.
She made this call at the 2019 World Sickle Cell Day Celebration held in the State at the Central Hospital Warri, Warri South Local Government Area on Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Stem Cell Transplantation: Cure For Sickle Cell Disorder”, Dame Okowa, represented by the wife of the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mrs Tobore Oborevwori said, “efforts should be made to develop scientific research that would focus on solutions to improve the quality of life”.
She added, “Understanding the disorder, its progression and taking preventive measures cannot be overemphasized”, noting that, attention should be given to early counseling, newborn screening, training of health care workers, genetic counselors and vaccination against infections.”
The First Lady harped that, the O5 initiative on its parts is reaching out to the old and young with the vision to care for the sick giving special reference to Sickle Cell Aneamia.
“We have seen patients from very poor background go through pains without immediate and proper medical attention, hence the provision of Sickle Cell Clinics across the State. Twelve functional clinics have been established in Agbor, Ughelli, Oleh, Sapele, Kwale, Koko, Eku, Patani, Otu Jeremi, Orereokpe, Issele Uku, Umunede and the Model Sickle Cell Centre in Asaba manned by professionals.”
Dame Okowa while encouraging everyone to show love to one another especially to those with the challenge, emphasized that this year’s celebration is a wake up call to well meaning individuals, corporate organizations and government at all levels to change the world of the persons around them.
The Permanent Secretary, Delta State Ministry of Health, Dr Minnie Oseji in her welcome address, dwelt on the need of early detection which she described as the best treatment for Sickle Cell Disorder.
Chairman of Warri South Local Government, Hon Michael Tidi in his remarks, maintained that genotype checks before marriage is vital and called on faith based organisations to be up in the fight to reduce Sickle Cell marriages.
He commended the First Lady for being in the forefront of the crusade to free our young ones from this very avoidable trauma, saying “I appreciate the good intentions of Her Excellency, Dame Edith Okowa for her very bold initiative to enlighten Deltans on the hard truth and the consequences couples face when we allow love and belief to drive our choices of partners in life. It has been said that love is blind, for me pain is equally blind to misery, in and out if hospital, depression, regrets and hopelessness. I know some Nigerians are very religious but please let’s not put our faith on trial unnecessary, we must be guided please.”
“Our joy for the choice of Warri cannot be over emphasized because it will afford our people the opportunity to acquire knowledge on this very sensitive subject matter that has affected many families in and across Warri South LGA”, Hon Tidi stated.
The colourful event featured lectures on Stem Cell Transplant by Medical Experts, free genotype test by the Association of Medical Scientists of Nigeria in partnership with O5 Initiative, Drama presentation by Warri Sickle Cell Club and Special Testimonies by Sickle Cell Survivors.
Focal Person, O5 Initiative, Barr. Mrs. Mary Erijo commended the various dignitaries who graced the occasion and appreciated the efforts of the State Ministry of Health, the Warri South Local Government Council and the management of the Central Hospital Warri, in seeing to the successful hosting of the celebration.
Highpoint of the event was cutting of the 2019 World Sickle Cell Day Celebration Cake by the First Lady with the Sickle Cell Warriors.