By Murtala Muhammad
Lack of Pre-Marital Genotype test has been identified as one of the major factors responsible for increased cases of Sickle Cell Anemia in the country.
The Senior Registrar of the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital ATBUTH, Bauchi, Dr. Maryam Mahdi gave the indication at a lecture organised by a Non-Governmental Organisation to mark this year’s World Sickle Cell Day held in Bauchi with the theme “Sickle Cell Matters”.
Dr. Maryam Mahdi who described Sickle cell anemia as a genetic disorder, stressed the need for people to imbibe the habit of pre-marital genotype screening with a view to curbing the disease.
“It is a genetic disorder, it is an inherited disease, people are born with it and the only way to prevent such condition is people should get themselves screened for genotype before they get married to each other because when the spouses are all “AS” and get married they have the probability of giving birth to a child with “SS”, which is a Sickle Cell patient” – Dr. Mahdi stated.
She also emphasized the need for intending couples not to hesitate in presenting themselves for the test.
A concerned parent, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa who said he was at the event to give the Sickle Cell patients a sense of belonging, called on the government to support the patient with drugs and other supplements to ease the management burden on their parents.
“I don’t have any Sickle Cell patient in my family but my neighbour has and whenever there is a change of whether his child would be completely destabilized” – he explained
A thirty five year old mother of one and victim of Sickle Cell Anemia, A’ishatu Bello told Radio Nigeria that her daughter is sickle cell free because before getting married to her husband they were assured of their compatibility.
“I am a victim of Sickle Cell Anemia, I have a daughter but she’s free because we undergo genotype screening before marriage, my husband is “AA” and I’m already aware that I’m “SS”, my advice for intending couples is they should please go for Genotype test before marriage so as to avoid giving birth to a Sickle Cell patient” said A’ishatu.
The convener of the event and founder of a Non-Governmental Organisation, Sickle Cell Self Help Initiative, Fatima Musa Bayero said the aim of organizing the lecture was to raise people’s awareness on the disease with a vive to assuring the patients that the world is with them in their trying period.
“We organized this event to create awareness on Sickle Cell Anemia and to educate people on the need to know their Genotype, because when you stop a person on the street and ask them of their Genotype, they’ll tell you their blood group, that’s why we feel that there is need to let them know that Genotype and Blood Group are different” – Fatima said.
At the event, free Genotype screening was conducted and the patients were provided with free medication and supplements.