Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has commended eHealth Africa, for donating some Rapid Diagnostic Kits (Sickle Cell Scan Kits) to the State Government for detecting those with sickle cell in the state.
Obaseki gave the commendation during the 2019 World Sickle Cell Day celebration held at the Sickle Cell Centre in Benin on Wednesday.
The theme of the 2010 celebration is “Stem Cell Transplant: Cure for Sickle Cell Disease.”
The international organisation recently donated the kits which can be used to detect the genotype of about one million people to the state government.
The governor said sickle cell anaemia could be reduced drastically and possibly eradicated by doing simple tests, especially premarital tests and test for new born babies’ to know one’s genotype.
He said the state government was concerned about the welfare of sickle cell patients in the state and would continue to collaborate with development partners to deepen support to the centre.
“This is one area we are concerned about; we ensured the whole sickle cell centre structure was restructured last year and some funds were made available to improve facilities at the centre.
The Programme Manager, Health Delivery System, eHealth Africa, Muhammed Hassan, said the rapid diagnostic kits would be used to detect the genotype of about one million persons in the state.
Hassan called on the state government to increase advocacy for the need to know one’s genotype to reduce incidents of sickle cell anaemia in the state.
He said the organisation was partnering with government in deploying the kits across the state and in initiating a bill for compulsory premarital and tests for new born babies in the state.
He also suggested that sickle cell patients be enrolled in the proposed health insurance scheme of the state and for the centre to be fully operational.
The programme manager added that the organisation was currently digitising data on no fewer than 15,000 patients at the centre to allow for proper policy formation for sickle cell patients.
A sickle cell patient, Queen Osadolor, appealed to the state government to include sickle cell patients in its job and skills development programmes.
Osadolor said most of them with vocational skills certificates from tertiary institutions did not have jobs.
She said if the patients had jobs, they would have finances to take care of themselves and buy drugs.
The President of the Sickle Cell Club in the state, Mr Aigbonoga Asekome, appealed to the governor fast track initiation of a bill that would ensure the full operation of the sickle cell centre.