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Nigerian Army Partners Association On Campaign Against Sickle Cell Anaemia


Raymond Ozoji, Awka

The Nigerian Army is to partner  the Association of Persons Living with Sickle Cell Disorder in the management and treatment of the disease.

This was the outcome of the courtesy visit by the association to the 82 Division Nigerian Army Medical Services and Hospitals Enugu led by the national coordinator Aisha Maureen Edward.

On the occasion, the commander 82 Division Medical Services and Hospitals Lt.Col.Ijoma Nwosu Ijomanta observed that a lot of sickle cell patients have not come to the point where they can manage their own illness effectively.

The Oracle Today learnt from the commander that improper management of the illness often led to frequent crisis leading to patronage of mediocre health practitioners who took advantage of their health conditions to exploit them  .

Ijomanta stated that there was no atom of psychological management of persons living with sickle cell disorder;  this according to him, has culminated into self - resignation, self-stigmatisation and self - ostracism on the part of victims.

Although the commander pointed out that victims of sickle cell disease were not responsible for their health status yet they were subjected to all forms of inhumane treatment by families and friends which compeled them into self - seclusion .

He therefore regretted that even doctors and nurses who were supposed to be specialists in the treatment and management of sickle cell patients , referred them to spiritualists and herbalists for treatment and cure adding that the disease can not be completely managed without taking care of the mental health of the individuals  .

Ijomanta further disclosed that the situation has gone so bad that some people tend to hide their genotypes to enable them join the military and thereafter bring about dire consequences.

He said the military ab initio does not screen for SS but since it discovered that most people do not disclose their genotypes, it then made it mandatory that prospective as well as serving military officials would undergo sickle cell screening together with other medical tests to ascertain the health conditions of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army due to the demands of their jobs  .

Ijomanta therefore re emphasized that the partnership with the association of persons living with sickle cell disorder was timely as it would help sensitise people on the disease as well as provide veritable avenues for treatment and proper management of the ailment  .

Responding, the national coordinator of the association Aisha Maureen Edward stated that the association seeks collaboration on civil - military relations in the management of sickle cell anaemia.

Edward said she had championed advocacy in primary and secondary schools in Anambra state as well as built a world class sickle cell clinic in Anambra where members of her association accessed quality clinical services.

She said the purpose of her visit to the 82 Division Nigerian Army Medical Services and Hospitals was to seek collaboration to enable her bring the campaign to Enugu state and other parts of the country so as to frontally tackle the scourge.

She said it was of paramount importance that people knew their genotype compatibility to avoid proliferation of sickle cell children in the country. According to her, victims of sickle cell disease face grave danger especially without proper management.

Edward also noted that parents of sickle cell children hide them and prevent them from accessing routine clinical services and most times, attribute their health conditions to influence of some supernatural forces and traditional beliefs.

As a result, the coordinator of the association pointed out that  victims of sickle cell disease have been disenfranchised, displaced and denied jobs and employment opportunities due to their health conditions.

She maintained that it was time those living with sickle cell disorder took their destiny in their own hands and save themselves from incessant crisis and untimely death adding that the partnership with Nigerian Army on campaign against sickle cell disorder would yield remarkable results  .
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