Groups seek ‘official’ support for sickle cell anemia patients
Edward spoke in Awka yesterday during an event organised by APLSCD, termed ‘Anambra walks to life 2015’. The programme was co-sponsored by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, the Anglican Bishop of Aguata Diocese, His Grace, Christian Efobi, Anambra State Ministry of Health, and former governor, Peter Obi, among others.
She regretted that patients have been abandoned by their parents, friends, relatives, religious leaders and governments at all levels, while some unscrupulous elements take undue advantage of their circumstances to amass wealth from innocent donors.
Edward, who appealed to the general public and those in authority to stop stigimatising people living with challenges, sought new efforts at providing jobs and creating wealth for them.
“They are able, qualified and capable to change the world; everyone is entitled to freedom of existence,” she said, adding that the patients were human beings.
Commissioner of Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, in his speech, assured that the ministry would look into the ‘Sickle Cell law’ that had been passed in 2002.
He, however, advised intending couples to always check their health status to ensure their genes are compatible for marriage.
The Commissioner argued that, although sickle cell anemia is not curable, it could be prevented and exterminated in the next 10 years through constant information dissemination through the media, churches, and other agents of socialisation.
Executive Director of Civil Rights Concern, Okey Onyeka, called on government at all levels to provide for sickle cell patients in the 2016 budget, and channel same through APLSCD, because, according to him, it is the only genuine association for ‘sicklers’ in Nigeria.