Abia State Government has integrated the study of Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD) into the state school education system in a strategy propelled by the First Lady, Nkechi Ikpeazu, to reduce the prevalence of the disease in the state.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu while flagging off a two-day Train the Trainer Curriculum Dissemination Workshop for teachers, yesterday in Umuahia said his government is committed to generating as much awareness as possible about the disease so that the populace can make informed decisions about life choices and marriage partners.
- Reps to halt abuse in orphanages
- Herders back Buhari as Afenifere, Ohanaeze reject grazing routes recovery
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to State Government, Mrs. Chris Ezem, said his administration has made a legislation that makes it compulsory for every citizen in the state to undertake genotype and blood group test and have the results on their identity cards, while institutions and marriage registries that wed or join couples without first demanding test results run the risk of being fined or closed.
The President of Vicar Hope Foundation and First Lady of Abia State, Dr. Ikpeazu, who spoke through the Administrator of the Foundation, Dr Edith Nwosu, revealed that an estimated 150,000 babies are born each year with sickle cell anaemia and most of them died before they are five years old while those who survived the illness beyond age five, became financial and emotional burden on families and caregivers as they struggle to keep them from dying.
Mrs Ikpeazu said the only cure for SCD is a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. This process, she said, is very expensive, thus the best approach remains for people seeking to have babies to ensure they have matching genotypes.