President of Vicar Hope Foundation and Wife of the Governor of Abia State Nkechi Ikpeazu has called for synergy between governments on the African continent to reduce the prevalence of sickle cell disease.
She made the call while delivering a paper at the First African Congress on Sickle Cell Disease.
The 3day event holding at the prestigious Landmark Centre, Victoria Island Lagos attracted delegates from many countries that include Nigeria, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, India, Germany, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and a large delegation from Kingdom of Buganda led by its Minister of Health.
Addressing the delegates, Mrs. Ikpeazu said Sickle Cell disease is majorly an African problem and as such Stakeholders on the African continent should lead efforts to eradicate the disease.
She acknowledged that some non governmental bodies and a few governments were doing quite a lot to address the challenge of sickle cell but restressed that individual efforts would yield better results if there is collaboration across borders.
Mrs. Ikpeazu told the gathering that her NGO had built sickle cell care, counselling, and management network that included two hospitals and had encouraged Abia state government to pass a law that would reduce the prevalence of the disease expressing the hope that in a few years, Abia State, southeast, Nigeria would record near-zero incidences of new cases.
She thanked the Organizers including Dr. SICKLECELL, the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos state government for putting the event together pointing out that it has provided a platform for Stakeholders to share experiences and knowledge while building new partnerships.
Also speaking the wife of the Governor of Sokoto State, Mrs. Amina Waziri Tambuwal said the immense work she has done in her state over the past four years was because she had relatives who had sickle cell disorder and had seen first hand the tremendous impact it had on families.
She said the awareness about the disease in her state is huge because of the work she does through her NGO, the MMAWT Legacy Initiative. She called on the governments in the region to roll out sustainable policies that can help roll back the sickle cell disorder.
Also speaking President Olusegun Obasanjo whose Foundation had co-sponsored the event expressed worry that almost 300,000 babies are born every year with sickle cell disease with Nigeria having the highest number.
He expressed concern that governments in the region haven’t given it the thought to assign sickle cell disease the status of a medical emergency.
Several speakers spoke on recent progress made in finding a cure for the disease