Professor  Chinedum Babalola, VC, Chrisland University , Abeokuta in Ogun State, has called for the establishment of Sickle Cell  Disease(SCD)  Research  and Treatment  Centres , to reduce the burden  of the disease.

 

Babalola, a member  of the Board  of Trustees, Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF), made  this call in Ibadan.

 

 

 

She spoke at the ‘’Dissemination  of the Findings of the Study  of Prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV among individuals  with SCD’’.

 

The vice-Chancellor said that  Nigeria , being the epicentre  of SCD with  estimated 150,000annual  births  of newborn  with SCD , only has one  SCD research  centre with  little  or no  funding   from the government.

 

 

 

 

‘’The funding of this study  was possible , because we got a grant  and support from an  international donor, GILEAD Sciences, U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

‘’For how long  are we going to continue  to rely  on foreigners and International  donors’ funding for a disease that is endemic in Nigeria?

 

 

 

 

 

‘’Many times,we go cap in hand to get supports and treatments for people who live  with SCD.

 

 

 

‘’We need the support of the government in treatment, management, research and awareness of SCD, if we are ever going to reduce the prevalence of SCD in the country’’, Babalola said.

 

 

 

 

A Consultant Paediatrician, Prof. Biobele Brown, urged the National Assembly to initiate a Bill that would improve the research,  treatment and awareness of SCD in the country.

 

 

 

Brown said that this would guarantee affordable healthcare for people living with SCD to make meaningful contributions to society.

 

 

 

Earlier, the Founder of SCHAF, Prof.  Adeyinka Falusi, said that the study of the Prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV among individuals with  SCD was the largest SCD  cohort study ever done in Nigeria.

 

 

 

Adeyinka said,’’ This study is designed to determine the prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus(HBV), Hepatitis “C’ Virus(HCV) and HIV infections, among individuals with and without SCD in the South-West, Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

The study was undertaken to clarify the hypothesis that people living with  SCD are at a higher risk of viral infections that can be contracted through blood transfusion.

 

 

 

 

 

‘’Due to anaemia that is associated with  the disease, affected  individuals are transfused  blood more often  than other members of the population.’’

 

 

 

She said that the study which commenced in 2018, revealed that the prevalence of  HBV, HCV, and HIV was lower in people with SCD than in those without.

 

 

 

‘’These results indicate that there is improved and effective transfusion safety measures in our hospitals in the South-West, Nigeria.

 

 

 

‘’ Caregivers are now more informed to take their wards to register healthcare services than in the past.

 

 

 

‘’Blood transfusion now has a minimal risk to contacting these infections in South-est  Region of Nigeria,’’ she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(NAN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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