Wife of Delta state governor and founder of 05 Initiative, Dame Edith Okowa, has renewed her zeal and zest to increase the life expectancy of persons with sickle cell disorder by ensuring that a state of the art Sickle Cell Centre is fully established in Asaba, the state capital by the state government, to halt the myriad of challenges faced by sufferers.
Dame Okowa made the pledge while marking the 2018 World Sickle Cell Day tagged, “Emerging Therapeutic Trends in Sickle Cell Disorder” which featured health talks at the Delta state School of Nursing in Agbor, Ika South local government area on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.
She encouraged parents of “survival and success champions” not to see their children as burden but a creature of God laden with hope of helping to build the society, calling on them to “live a life of witness for the goodness of the Lord.”
She however, expressed delight over the emergence of various modern clinical solutions to deal with the challenges, adding that her pet project, 05 Initiative have fully established 12 Sickle Cell Clinics in government owned hospitals located in local government areas of the state, which according to her, have contributed to the sharp drop in deaths resulting from sickle cell disorder.
An ambassador of the awareness campaign on sickle cell disorder and curable activities, Justice Excel Timi, who commended Dame Edith Okowa for leading the campaign, lamented that most educated people in the society are yet to know their genotype. She therefore enjoined the “survival and success champions” not to give up on the primary and secondary prevention which entails regular clinical attendance, genotype tests and therapeutic treatments.
Earlier in his keynote address, the Delta state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye urged parents, guardians, other individuals and corporate bodies to contribute towards the 05 Initiative efforts at making medical services available to people at the gassroots.
He further disclosed that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration is providing an enduring solution to tackling sickle cell disorder and welfare of people with the disorder because of their usefulness to the society.
In his health talk, a consultant pediatrician revealed that statistics have shown that 150,000 children are born annually with sickle cell disorder, appealing for more blood donors to save persons with the disorder.
He decried the use of fetish and traditional means based on superstitious beliefs to tackle and cure sickle cell but advised parents and guardians of “survival and success champions” to key into the efforts of Dame Edith Okowa’s 05 Initiative activities by regularly seeking medical attention in the various esablished sickle cell clinics across the state.
In another health talk, Dr. C. N. Isibor explained that recent survey carried out by the Agbor Sickle Cell Club between 2015 and 2018 has shown a sharp increase in the life expectancy of “survival and success champions” with a complementary reduction in number of cases, as a result of the intensive campaign and provision of standard medical facilities for the treatment of persons with sickle cell disorder.
On their part, the Medical Director of the Central Hospital, Agbor Medical Zone, Dr. Philemon Okolie and the Principal at Delta State School of Nursing, Agbor, Mrs. Tessy Onwuka assured of their readiness to partner with the 05 Initiative and life enduring legacy of the wife of Delta state governor, Dame Edith Okowa.
Highlight of the celebration of the 9th World Sickle Cell Day was the cutting of cake, cultural dances performed by students of the School of Nursing and Survival and Success Champions respectively.
Recall that the World Sickle Cell Day was first celebrated in 2009 after the United Nations (UN) General Assembly established it in 2008 for June 19 annually, to increase awareness campaigns and curable activities to tackle sickle cell disorder, a foremost and common genetic diseases worldwide.