Sickle Cell: Neurologist wants FG to promulgate laws to protect patients

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By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal

Prof. Abdulwasiu Abdulwahab, a Consultant Neurologist at University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH),
called on Federal Government to promulgate laws to protect people living with sickle cell anaemia.

Abdulwahab made the call on Thursday in Ilorin during a Genotype Seminar organised by the youth wing of Kwara branch of
Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN).

The neurologist said Sickle Cell Foundation in Nigeria had been agitating that people living with the ailment should be accorded utmost priority.

According to him, the law, when fully enacted and implemented, will not only cater for the needs of sufferers but will lead to its reduction in the country.

Abdulwahab described Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) as the most common blood disorder in the world which required daily care and could
cause major problems and long-term disability.

He commended FOMWAN for organising seminar on genotype, saying: “if we look at the ramifications of not testing the genotype
before going into marriage, then we would appreciate this seminar because it came at the right time.

“Sickle Cell is a big problem and people should forget what we usually hear that `love is blind’ because  love should not be blind when
we have knowledge.

“If someone has sickle cell aneamia, the person is already carrying the two genes and is going to manifest with disease.”

In her lecture at the event, Dr Aishat Otuyo of Sobi Specialist Hospital, Alagbado, Ilorin, advised parents to always encourage
their children who attained marriageable age to consider genotype screening before marriage.

She advised the current generation not be sentimental about the choice of partners, adding that they should consider the health
implication so as to breed healthy generations.

Dr Barakat Raji of Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, also enjoined potential couples to give priority attention to the issue of genotype
before marriage.

Chairperson of FOMWAN, Youth Wing, Alhaja Bilqees Oladimejia, said that the seminar was to sensitise people across the 16 local
government areas of Kwara about dangers of going into marriage without adequate attention to the issue of genotype.

She explained that FOMWAN enjoined participants at the seminar to be enlightened and duly educated about the importance of
genotype test.

Oladimeji said FOMWAN would continue to pray for people living with the disease, visit them regularly and render financial
assistance when the need arose.

Highlights of the event included free genotype screening for participants, as well as questions and answers, among others. (NAN)