Foundation wants recognition of day by FG

This, according to the foundation, is to help actualise the goals of reducing the burden of sickle cell disease in the country.

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The President of the foundation, Prof. Adeyinka Falusi, said this while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Ibadan against the backdrop of the annual June 19 WSCD.

Falusi, a professor of haematology, said that the country needed to affirm its position in subduing the disease.

She added that the disease was responsible for the death of over 60 per cent of the 150,000 babies born with it annually.

"Nigeria carries the highest burden of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) worldwide with the disease affecting over 4 million individuals and over 40 million are also capable of transmitting this to their children.

"SCD is a chronic, challenging and sometimes disabling disease in Nigeria with devastating complications like severe pain crises, anaemia, stroke, priapism and severe leg ulcers.

"Currently, the only possible cure is bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, which is extremely expensive, highly specialized and not performed in Nigeria," she said.

According to her, government's priority should be geared towards a preventive approach through all local government areas across the federation.

"Local governments should forge collaboration with NYSC as part of efforts to promote awareness and education on a preventive approach to the disease.

"The NYSC is a tool for change of SCD programme in Nigeria since they are able to reach all nooks and crannies and spread the word in the language of the people," she said.

NAN reports that WSCD was named by the United Nations in 2008 to commemorate the day that the General Assembly recognised sickle cell disease as a public health priority.

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