BENIN CITY – The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has reinstated the State government commitement in partnering agencies and multinational corporations in building and improving the awareness campaign of the sickle cell disease in the state.
Obaseki who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Peter Ogbodagha, made the statement at the First Sickle Cell Awareness Golf Tournament/Fundraiser dinner, organized by the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) Golf club in collaboration with Presco Plc in Benin city, weekend.
Obaseki noted that the state government encourages research and believes with partnering agencies like Presco plc and the UBTH Golf club, in the awareness campaign for sickle cell anemia is a welcome development.
The Governor also appreciated the efforts of the Patron of the Tournament (Prof Gregory Akenzuwa), the UBTH management and the golf club, stating the state government’s readiness to partner with interested institutions and companies to cater for patients with the SSD.
Also speaking at the event, the Enogie of Evbuobanosa, His Royal Highness, Prof Gregory Akenzuwa called on Nigerians to generously donate towards the sickle cell program, in a view to assist and support patients with the disease.
He said “One of every four Nigerians carries the sickle gene and on the average 3 out of every 100 New born child in Nigeria are affected by sickle cell disease.
“Everyone of them also still has, if they live and are given adequate cares, the potential to become Doctors, Engineers, Administrators and lots more, and they can contribute their own quota to find solutions to Nigeria’s myriad of problems.
The Enogie who is also the Patron of the Tournament, stated that for the sickle cell patients to live a quality life and contribute to the nation’s development, there is need for facilities to detect early diagnosis and early enrollment in a comprehensive heath care programme which only persons trained adequately in the management of the various complications of the sickle cell disease and provision of their special needs can give.
“The Golf tournament is aimed at reawakening awareness about sickle cell disease and raising funds to help upgrade facilities for the comprehensive care of patients with the disease at both the sickle cell center in Benin and in UBTH”, he added.
Speaking at the fundraiser dinner, the Chief Medical Director, UBTH, Dr M.O Ibadin stressed that the sickle cell disease represent the commonest affliction of genetic origin affecting man, particularly the black race, noting that Nigeria has the highest burden of the disease in the world.
Ibadin also said “Over the years, the outlook of the sicklier has transformed from hopelessness to quality life and comparable life expectancy courtesy of scientific innovations, so today it is conventional to talk cure for the ailment and survivors abound including those that were managed in UBTH”.
Delivering his goodwill message, the Managing Director, Presco Plc, Mr Felix Nwabuko noted that as a corporate organization with a conscience, they (Presco) believes as a corporate policy in giving back to their host communities and the larger society.
Mr Nwabuko stressed that it was better to imagine than experience the pains and emotional trauma which sickle cell patients and loved ones go through in seeking solution to their often recurring health crises, further stating that the company found it a noble cause to partner with the UBTH Golf club and the sickle cell center to sponsor the tournament.
Earlier in his welcome address, the host and Captain of the UBTH Golf club, Prof Anthony Emina stated that government support for sickle cell patients have deteriorated over the years, noting that government has the constitutional obligation to support people living with sickle cell anemia.
He said “we therefore use this opportunity to call on government at all levels to live up to their obligations to these members of the society by providing facilities for easy management of the sickle cell condition”.