The Founder of Gemstone Sickle Cell Aid Team, Miss Grace Ochigbo, has said that there is hope of a permanent cure for people with sickle cell disease through genetic transplantation.
Ochigbo, in an interview with our correspondent, said that although bone marrow transplant might have some limitations and it could be expensive, there was no better remedy for sickle cell disease.
She described genetic counseling and genotype test from a well-recognised hospital as some of the steps that intending couples should take to prevent giving birth to a child with the disease.
“When genotype test is done for intending couples, the result will guide them in their choice as the likely percentage of each genotype varies. Some risks are worth taking, others are completely out of it,” she said.
Ochigbo called on the Federal Government to take sickle cell disease seriously, the same way they take other life-threatening diseases.
She said, “The Federal Government should treat sickle cell disease with the same magnitude as malaria. Bear in mind that Africa bears the greatest burden of the disease in the world.
“If the government showed just a little interest in the disease, I’m sure that things would get better. They should build more genetic counselling centres, make genetic testing free or in the very least, very affordable and put in the mechanism for in-utero screening, detection and management of mother and child.”
She also urged the Federal Government to make rules that would make it impossible for any marriage institution to conduct any wedding without an authentic genotype report.
By: Dayo Ojerinde
The Punch News
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