A Run Down Of Activities Marking the 2019 International day for Sickle Cell Awareness in Port Harcourt


Florence Uwaeme

Wednesday the 19th day of June is known as the international day for Sickle Cell disorder Awareness. A couple of events were held in commemoration of the awareness.

The sickle cell awareness forum Port Harcourt (SCAF) in conjunction with Sickle Cell Support Society (SCSS) and Preventive Healthcare Initiative held a walk on the 16th of June tagged “Walk Sickle Cell Disorder Out of Nigeria”.
The essence of the walk was to create awareness to people in Port Harcourt about the preventive measures available to prevent sickle cell disorder.
The awareness continued at Atlantic Hall of Hotel Presidential. The event was attended by dignitaries in Rivers state, including Tonye Cole and his beautiful wife, Sylvia Cole.

Doctor Obinna gave a lecture on sickle cell disorder: how it can be prevented, managed, and cured. For the management; he advised those with the disorder to always take lots of fruits and vegetable, keep warm in cold weather and cool in hot, take one folic acid daily, avoid mosquito bites, ensure they stay in ventilated rooms and take lots of water.

Free genotype test was conducted for the first 1500 people that were at the event and are yet to know their genotype.
Sickle Cell Interactive Management Association (SCIMA) in conjunction with Sickle Cell Awareness Forum(SCAF) and SCAIIN hosted the general public to a fundraising dinner for the Ummuna quadruplets and three others on Friday, the 21st of June. The event host, Ali Baba who is also a SCIMA ambassador blamed the inability to eradicate the disorder in Nigeria on illiteracy, love and religion.
It was an eventful evening as there were performances from Port Harcourt Literary Society members, led by Prof Amu Nnadi. There was musical rendition by the delectable Pamela Scott.
The special guest of honour, wife of the managing director and chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Dr. Mrs Anna Brambaifa during her speech, commended the coverner of the event Ms.Ifeoma Ifejika on her tirelessness in educating the general public about Sickle cell disorder and her efforts in reaching out to survivors.

The guest speaker, Prof Nosa Bazuaye a renowned hematologist and Nigeria’s foremost stem cell transplantologist asserted that government should help in eradicating sickle cell disorder by providing funds for stem cell transplant.

He said technology has made it easier for both donors and receivers alike as the age limit for donors and receivers has been increased from 0 – 45years unlike when it used to be from 0 – 18years.

He encouraged young people to get to know their genotype as early as possible and not bow to the pressure of love.

The event was concluded by the fundraising proper, dinner was served and a vote of thanks was given by the convener of the event.

The quadruplets and other survivors for whom the fundraiser was for, were present at the event.