The CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, a faith-based NGO, has called on government across levels to be more attentive to the plights of patients and help stop all discrimination and marginalization.
Its Project Coordinator, Christianah Bakare, said this at the “Project Treat A Warrior” organised by the NGO on Saturday in Ikeja.
According to her, the incoming President could give people living with sickle cell free screening, tests and medication.
“We have done a lot for the communities like others NGOs. The government should reach out to us to help these people at the grassroots,” Bakare said.
CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, which creates supports for sickle cell patients sponsored free medical tests, screening and medication for about 200 patients in Lagos.
“What we are doing here today is what we called, “Project Treat A Warrior”. This is where we bring community of sickle cell patients together.
“We help them and give them free medical consultations and medications as we bring doctors from different medical fields and hospital. We are out to help the patients cushion the effects of sickle cell.
“We have almost 200 people in attendance as we speak and the number is increasing. We intend to attend to all patients that present themselves. We also have other programs for them,” she said.
Bakare said that the initiative had also carried out other activities such as “Project Empower A Warrior”, “Project GenEducation”, “Project Keep A Warrior Warm” and “Training for Sickle Cell Patients”.
According to her, the NGO will not relent efforts in assisting people living with sickle cell disease in the country.
“In our project, GenEducation, we go down to communities to tell people about sickle cell.
“We educate people about how to avoid it and how to maintain and take care of those that have the diseases to avoid complications surroundings the disease,” Bakare said.
According to her, now that the nation is in raining season, parents who have children with sickle cell must keep them warm, give them water to be hydrated all the time.
Mrs Bolanirandeji Adeyale, the Finance Director CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, whose 45th Birthday Celebration coincided with the event, said that with good medications and care, Sickle cell patients could live long.
“I will say the government has not done enough because most of the patients you see here today are indigent patients who do not have the finances to take care of themselves.
“So, many of them (parents) leave their children at home, they don’t take them to the hospital because they do not have the wherewithal.
“We need the help of God for good medical care. I am here today, gone through crises of teenage years and given birth because I have the best of medications and hospital,” she said.
She, however, said that the Lagos State Government had tried with ILERA EKO initiative, but the patients needed more of such to free treatment for the sickle cell victims.
According to her, there is no way anyone can keep sickle cell patients without correct medical treatment and knowing what to do on daily basis.
She urged the incoming administration to ensure mandatory new born sickle cell testing, noting that “when it is detected at birth, the treatment become ease”.
“New born testing is very key. As a patient, I was not diagnosed until I was 12 after I gone through pains and visited different hospital, not know what was wrong with me. Sickle cell is not a dead sentence,” Adeyale said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Titilope Kalejaye, described the gesture as laudable, while saying that the CrimsonBow had been showing concern about patients’ welfare on monthly basis.
Kalejaye said that through the initiative, she got enlisted in the Lagos State ILERA EKO health scheme and it was renewed for her and other beneficiaries.
Miss Balikis Akinyoade, another patient said, “CrimsonBow has been helpful to many of us. We get free treatment and medications at regular intervals.”
Meanwhile, Dr Gbenga Adebayo, a Hematologist, while counseling the caregivers and patients said that if Adeyale could live for 45 years, every patient could survive till ripe age.
“Don’t give up, your child can make it. Don’t miss your checkup appointments, stay the rigour to get attended to. Use your medications appropriately as given by your care givers,” he said.
“If we have Adeyale, a senior banker, a chartered accountant with lovely kids and she is doing well, you can also do well,” Adebayo charged patients.