http://www.vanguardngr.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/sickle-cell1.jpg By Chioma Obinna

LAGOS—As Nigerians joined the rest of the World to mark this year’s World Sickle Cell Day, at least 100,000 Nigerian infants die annually due to Sickle Cell Disease, SCD.

Meanwhile, Nigerian youths have been urged to know the genotype of their proposed spouses before marriage.

Speaking at an event organised by the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta to mark the day in Lagos,Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Olubukola Temitayo Aseru, said Nigeria, by virtue of its population, stood out as the most affected country in Africa.

Aseru said 70 per cent of the over 300,000 children born annually with SCD in Africa occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

He said one of four Nigerians has sickle cell trait, hence, the need for Nigerians to be sensitized about the existence, consequences, prevention and care of Sickle Cell disease before marriage.

Noting that this year’s theme; “Sickle Cell Disease: Importance of Comprehensive Management,” Aseru called for a holistic approach that goes beyond treating the biological and physical manifestations of the disease such as crises and complications.

On his part, the Hospital SCD Club Coordinator and Consultant Family Physician, Dr. Usman Olagoke, who disclosed that the hospital had over 200 club membership, said the number of Nigerians living with SCD was on the increase, and advised on the need to discourage marriages between two people with sickle cell trait.

Olagoke who explained that although there is room for choice, said people should weigh the consequences of possibility of the couple having a child with sickle cell disease.

“Information is also key in reducing the number of people with SCD. This is why we are having this programme today.  With information, we will be able to stop bringing into the world children with SCD and when they are not taken care of they go through a lot of crisis. We should also start teaching our children right from primary school for them to know whether they have the treat or not.

Advising parents to check their children’s genotype early in life, Olagoke urged Nigerian youths to insist on knowing the genotype of their proposed spouses before they go deep into their relationships.

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