WORLD SICKLE CELL AWARENESS DAY AS MARKED BY THE FOUNDATION FOR SICKLE SOLDIERS ON THE 18TH OF JUNE, 2016 IN OKO COMMUNITY OF ORUMBA NORTH IN ANAMBRA STATE. WITH MISS. ALICE EBIKA (FOUNDER TFFSS, MISS TOURISM ZAMFARA 2015).
The awareness kicked off with a road walk at about 8:30am from the Federal Polytechnic Oko, School main gate all though the community. The students and volunteers that joined the awareness were all dressed in branded awareness T-shirts while some carried post cards with different inscriptions creating awareness on wrong genotype match and the dangers of Sickle Cell Anaemia. The road walk stopped at 10:00am in front of the Civic Centre Oko where the health seminar followed afterwards. The seminar kicked off with an opening prayer by the MC “Charles Noble”, after which the audience recited the National Anthem followed by the Anambra State Anthem. When the audience were all settled, the Host/Founder TFFSS gave a welcome speech and further explained to the audience the purpose of World Sickle Cell Awareness Day.
The first health seminar speech was presented by Dr. John Chinawaeze Aneke (MB, BS, FMCpath) Consultant Hematologist and Head of Hematology department NAUTH, Nnewi, Anambra State. He presented a speech against the use of foul words on people living with sickle cell, he described it as inhuman; stating the fact that spoken words can break individuals living with sickle cell; he also advised the general audience to become advocates and ambassadors of Sickle Cell Anaemia, he advised the students to always be the agent of change against wrong genotype match so as to prevent more birth of children living with sickle cell anaemia. He also taught survivors especially females affected on right ways to live and care for their body to avoid crisis especially when approaching the monthly period.
The second seminar speech was presented by Dr. Okocha, The Chief Hematologist NAUTH, Nnewi, Anambra State. Dr. Okocha educated on ways couples with wrong genotype match can avoid birth of an infant with sickle cell anaemia during pregnancy through Pre-natal Diagnosis… which is the early detection or diagnosis of sickle cell in infants yet unborn, although he stated it is not morally advised as it is also an act of abortion, but scientifically accepted and practiced. He further explained on the difference between Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA).
The third seminar speech was a motivational one by Mr. Oluchukwu (President, Sickle Cell Club NAUTH). His speech which was tagged “My Challenges So Far and How I Overcame”, lasted for about twenty minutes as he elaborated on how and when he found out he was affected at his second year in the university and how best he started taking care of himself upon the late detection of his genotype status by regular visits to the clinic and abiding by the general rules for a healthy life style.… he further informed the audience that sickle cell did not in any way prevent him from succeeding in life because, after his First Degree at UNIZIK he studied further and gained a Masters Degree…currently, Mr. Oluchukwu is an on-air personality at Alpha Radio, Nnobi, Anambra state.
The highlight of the seminar was a short drama presentation which opposed “wrong genotype match”, by members of the team and Rotaractors of Federal Polytechnic Oko.
The questions and answers segment from the audience lasted for about an hour, as health questions were asked from all angles concerning sickle cell anaemia while the guest doctors answered all the questions to the delights of the audience. All through the event, free genotype test were conducted on all participants while the visiting doctors from the Hematology Unit NAUTH conducted a special general body check-up on survivors.
Finally, motivational write-ups by Miss Alice Ebika were distributed alongside freebies from sponsors: Triple Tree Hotels, Tummy Tummy Foods and Event Beverages to all participants. This project was supported by The Hematology Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi and proudly sponsored by Tummy Tummy Foods/Events Beverages Limited and Triple Tree Hotels.