A Professor of Peadeatrics and Child Health at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Dominic Osaghae, has revealed that Nigeria has the highest number of victims of sickle cell disease in the world, with 47.5 million carriers.
Prof Osaghe stated this on Thursday while delivering the 15th inaugural lecture of the University, titled;
“The Roadblocks on the highway to survival of children: the interventions of a Paediatrician.”
To manage the disease, Osaghae asked the federal government to set up control programmes across the country to manage the 47.5 million persons suffering from the Sickle Cell Disorders in Nigeria, as obtains in other climes.
“There are four million sufferers and 47.5 million carriers of sickle cell disorders in Nigeria. Therefore, the country has the highest concentration of victims of sickle cell disease in the world.
“Hence, considering the presence of a high carrier rate of the gene (25%) in Nigeria, there is need for the establishment of control programmes as it has been done in other countries with far less burden of the disease.“
Osaghae called on the federal government to emulate Edo state which has a sickle cell centre, which he said has helped in managing those with the disorder.
He said it also envisaged that children are on a marathon journey that would last 18 years on the “highway to survival,” because of the numerous roadblocks that constitute impediments to their survival.
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, described the event as a town and gown meeting where ideas and knowledge could be shared.