Abia State Government has integrated the study of Sickle Cell Disorder into the Abia state School System in the pursuit of a strategy designed by the wife of the Governor, Lady Nkechi Ikpeazu, to reduce the prevalence of the disease in the state.
The Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu while flagging off a two-day Train the Trainer Curriculum Dissemination Workshop for teachers in Umuahia said his administration was committed to sensitizing the people about the disease so that the populace can make informed decisions about life choices and marriage partners.
“Sickle Cell disease is a hereditary ailment that becomes manifest when two persons with mismatched genotypes have babies.” He said
DR Ikpeazu said his administration has made a legislation that makes it compulsory for every citizen in the state to undertake genotype and blood group test and have the results inscribed on their identity cards, while institutions and marriage registries that join couples without first demanding tests results run the risk of being fined or closed.
In her remarks, the President of Vicar Hope Foundation and First lady of Abia State Dr Nkechi Ikpeazu represented by the Administrator of the Foundation Dr Edith Nwosu, said the interventions carried out by the Foundation was aimed at reversing the onslaught of the hereditary disease and that the Foundation had set up 2 modern sickle cell care hospitals to complement the sickle cell care focal desks established by the state government in the 17 Local Government Areas.
She revealed that an estimated 150,000 babies are born each year with sickle cell anaemia and most of the babies die before they are five years old.
Abia state Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, explained that 17 Sickle Cell Focal offices have been set up in the LGAs to assist with drug distribution and management of cases in rural areas.
In his contributions the permanent secretary Ministry of Education Abia State, Sir Princewill Eze Ajuzie described Vicar Hope Foundation as partners in progress with the state and assured that the teachers would imbibe the training and disseminate the information appropriately throughout the State School System.
The workshop featured lectures on sickle cell and how to integrate it in the school scheme of work.