By Stephen Adeleye
Miss Alexander Esther, an NYSC member serving in Kogi, on Friday donated drugs to over 300 sickle cell patients at the Kogi State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja.
Alexander told newsmen while donating the drugs at the hospital that she had lost three of her siblings of age 24, 22 and 16 to the disease.
She added that the NYSC scheme had helped her to be a voice to those living with the sickle cell disease.
According to her, my deceased siblings became regular customers to the hospital and mostly end up not going to school regularly.
The corps member noted that the painful experience prompted her to champion a foundation called “Alexander Sickle Cell Initiative (ASSI)”, aimed at saving lives and giving hope to sickle cell patients.
Alexander, who is a medical doctor by profession, defined sickle cell disease “as a genetic disorder that is non-transmittable but got through couples, who are carriers of the cell”.
She noted that over 150 million babies were born with sickle cell worldwide annually and that majority of the children eventually die.
She, however, stressed the need to create awareness for people to choose their partners right.
In her remarks, Kogi State NYSC Coordinator, Mrs Oludolapo Ahile, commended the corps member for the initiative and emphasised the need to create more awareness for people to choose their partners wisely.
The state coordinator represented by the Director of Community Development Service (CDS), Mrs Elizabeth Adigwe, encouraged corps members in the state to adopt the initiative by giving back to the society.
Earlier, Ifeoma Nweke, Director Hope Aglow For Life & Children Health Initiative (HALCHI), expressed concern at the increasing rate of patients with sickle cell disease across the country.
Nweke explained that HALCHI is a foundation that takes care of sickle cell patients.
She also reiterated the importance of showing love and care to people living with sickle cell.
“It is not sickle cell that kills people living with it but lack of proper care for them.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the drugs donated were routine drugs, pain reliefs and other supplements.
Dr Ahmed Attah, Special Assistant on Health Matters to Gov. Yahaya Bello, presented the drugs to HALCHI, which has branches all over Kogi, where sickle cell patients are catered for, on behalf of Alexander.