The Country Director, Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, has called on the federal and state governments to rise to the challenge of ensuring proper sensitization about sickle cell disease among Nigerians.
Rev. Hayab stressed the need for government to make Nigerians go for their genotype tests before marriage, as a way of reducing the disease in the country.
He made the recommendations during the World Sickle Cell Day commemoration.
Rev. Hayab noted that those suffering from sickle cell disease need to be shown love and care as a way of encouraging them to fight the disease.
He also called for support for parents and relatives of those living with sickle cell disease, stressing that majority of them pass through great challenges while taking care of their family suffering from the disease.
The Country Director explained that Global Peace Foundation Nigeria has to go into collaboration with those living with sickle cell to create more awareness of what those living with the disease pass through and the need for all to come together to support and help them where necessary.
He called on the National Assembly to have a legislative law that would give special attention to sickle cell patients and provide affordable treatment for them.
He said many were facing stigmatization in society, saying that there should a law to protect them from any form of stigmatization.
Anna Oppa Young, the state coordinator of those living with sickle cell said they had to come out to celebrate the day with a view of sanitizing people saying that the disease is not a killer one but could be cured with proper handling and treatment of the patient.
She called on the government to protect them from being stigmatized in any form, adding that stigma causes lots of problems and some who cannot stand the pressure die before time.
According to Blessing Joseph, a 24-year old said, “We found ourselves with sickle cells, we did not bargain for this but we grew up and found ourselves with sickle cell. People should not stigmatize us in society but we should be encouraged so that we the victims can live a longer life.”