National Coordinator of Association of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder, APLSCD, Aisha Edward, said sickle cell anemia patients have been abandoned by their parents, friends, relatives, religious bodies and the government, while some unscrupulous elements use their unsolicited circumstances to amass wealth from innocent donors.
Edward spoke at the commemoration of APLSCD, termed ‘Anambra walks to life 2015’, held in Awka yesterday, and co-sponsored by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, the Anglican Bishop of Aguata Diocese, His Grace, Christian Efobi, Anambra State Ministry of Health, former governor, Peter Obi among others.
She regretted that these patients are relegated to the background by the entire society in Nigeria and appealed to the general public and those in authority to stop stigimatising them.
Edward strongly solicited that they be provided with employment and enabling environment to create wealth.
According to her, “They are able, qualified and capable to change the world. Everyone is entitled to freedom of existence,” he said, adding that the patients are human beings.
In his speech, the State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, assured that the ministry will look into the sickle cell law, saying it has been passed into law since 2002.
He advised the public, especially the intending couples, to always check their health status to ensure their genes are compatible for marriage.
The Commissioner argued that although sickle cell anemia is not curable, it could be prevented and wipe-off from existence in the next ten years through constant information dissemination via the media, churches, and other agents of socialization.
The Executive Director of Civil Rights Concern, Okey Onyeka, called on government at all levels to provide for the sickle cell patients in the 2016 budget, and channel same through APLSCD, because according to him, it is the only genuine association for the sicklers in Nigeria.

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