A non governmental organisation, MissDee for Sickle Cell Foundation, has taken a different approach to sensitise Nigerians on the need to protect future generations by avoiding the production of sickle cell children. To this end, the Foundation said it produced a movie tilted “Crescent” to take the message against AS+AS genotype marriage which automatically leads SS genotype children, to the unreached particularly at rural areas.
The Foundation explained that the movie was in addition to other platform used to reach millions of people with the message of sickle cell with detailed accounts of horrible experiences of sickle cell patients and unending pains they pass through to survive. Director of the Foundation, Adaora Nwodo, told reporters at the premiere of the movie in Abuja, that the campaign must be sustained using different platforms to discourage people with mismatched genotype, AS + AS, from getting married, not to talk of making babies that would carry SS genotype.
She said: “Many people are living in pain due to no fault of theirs, but of their parents that either ignored warnings or ‘forged’ genotype results to achieve whatever temporary gain and thereafter, keep their children in pains for life.” She said the movie was able to achieve the desired goal of creating serious awareness about the sickle cell disease, and it would help the Foundation provide care for less privileged people in the society living with the ailment in Nigeria.
She added: “This task is not easy but we have made some success particularly in taking the message of sickle cell to rural communities. I am passionate about getting the people to know the consequences of mismatched genotype. I use my little resources for the campaign and to manage people with sickle cell. I grew up in a family where i had and have relatives who suffer from this disorder. I have lost family members and friends to this ailment, hence my increased desire to raise awareness about it.
“Sickle cell is a condition that is completely avoidable and preventable. Nobody deserves the pain and suffering of sickle cell. My desire is to ensure that, going forward, no one is born with the disease. Previous mistakes could be pardoned but we shouldn’t allow future cases by ensuring that genotypes are not mismatched for whatever reason. I have recommitted to educate as many Nigerians as I can on the need to know their genotype and consequences of bringing forth children with sickle cell to the world.
“It took the bold step to establish the Foundation in 2009 when I returned to Nigeria from United Kingdom after my postgraduate programme and I will sustain the momentum until people are well sensitised.”