A Cell Stem Specialist, Professor Nosakhare Bazuaye, has called on the Federal Government to enact a law that would make the haemoglobin genotype test mandatory for Nigerians.
Bazuaye, the Director, Cellteck Healthcare Medical Centre, Benin, made the call in on Thursday in Benin, Edo state capital.
He said the test should be extended to both primary and secondary students so as to know their genotype very early in life.
The expert said 150,000 children were born with sickle cell anaemia yearly in Nigeria.
According to him, to reduce the burden of the disease in the country, it is imperative for everybody to know his or her genotype.
He said that not less than three per cent of Nigeria’s populations were suffering from sickle cell disorder.
“Nigeria parades the highest number of sickle cell patients in the world. Even, if I have to do transplant for the rest of my entire life time, I will not be able to do stem cell transplant for all the sufferers. No fewer than 300,000 children are born yearly with sickle cell disorder across the world and out of the number 150, 000 are born in Nigeria,” Bazuaye said.
He said though the centre was doing stem cell transplant as the only cure for the disorder, it was better to encourage prevention than to allow it happen.
“Before, parents were not aware that there was something like genotype test, but now, we are in a world where everybody should be aware of preventable diseases. It is better to prevent it because the treatment is very expensive,” Bazuaye said.