As part of the festivities marking the celebration of the 70th birthday of our numero uno – Mr. Tunde Badejo on 24th July 2019, and in is his usual custom we paid a visit to the Sickle Cell Foundation, Nigeria facility in Idi-araba, Surulere-Lagos to spread goodwill and show our support for the work of easing the suffering of people living with this disease.
Sickle Cell is the result of a group of disorders that may affect the shape of the red blood cells and reduce their ability to transport oxygen around the body. People with this condition have abnormally shaped haemoglobin molecules which causes the red blood cells to be hollow at the centre and is hereditary. One of the major symptoms of this disease is sudden and severe pain crisis sufferers experience because oxygen is unable to get to surrounding tissue and sometimes these red blood cells get stuck in blood vessels and do not live very long leading to anaemia.
While speaking with Mr Badejo, the CEO of the facility, Dr Annette Akinsete highlighted the challenges encountered while fighting this disease including local belief systems which blamed it on evil forces, as well as limited access to health care information. She also stated that data from the just concluded World Sickle Cell day on 19th of June, 2019 showed that 150,000 Nigerian children are born with this disease annually while 1 in 4 adults are healthy carriers. Organizations like the Sickle Cell Foundation have a mandate to provide early screening during pregnancy and subsequent treatment /counselling readily available to people who are unable to afford this specialized service.
While on a tour of the facilities, we gained further insights into their processes and functions.
To top off the day’s visit, Mr. Badejo made a cash donation of 2.5m, alongside essential medical supplies.
Click here to see pictures from the visit.