|Margaret Olele, Director Corporate Affairs, Pfizer for Sub- Saharan Africa.|
Speaking during a three-day conference in Enugu with the theme: Reducing the Burden of Sickle Cell Disease in Our Communities, the Chairman, SCSSN, Professor, Adekunle Adekile said that Sickle cell is a disease that is common all over the world, particularly in Nigeria which has the largest burden with a total number of over 1,500 children born every year with the disease.
According to him, the problem of sickle cell is so pervasive in Nigeria with a significant number of the patients living in rural areas where health care systems are not enough leading to increase death rates of the patients.
A study by the sickle Cell Aid foundation has shown that only 5 percent of the children with sickle cell disease live past the age of 10 in Nigeria as most of them die before their 5th birthday as a result of complications arising from SDC.
Reacting to this, Adekunle said “We must change our orientation on how care is provided for the patients and ensure that we adequately empower our primary health care workers in the communities” adding that measures aimed at enhancing the sensitization of health practitioners, especially in the local communities, policy makers and other resource allocators to the pertinent issues in the control of SCD must be stepped up.
Also speaking during the conference, the Director Corporate Affairs, Pfizer for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mrs. Margaret Olele, said that the issues of sickle cell is multi- sectorial, adding that being innovative together with improving community networking are critical to achieving the aim of reducing the burn of sickle cell disorder.
According to her, the training of health workers will assist them in recognizing the SCD, making diagnoses and doing health education as well as counseling and to also know when to give patients supplements to boost there blood.
“There are lots of stakeholders who are working to tackle the disorder. “but their efforts are largely in the urban areas” there is still more to be done in the rural areas” she said.
She also noted that sickle cell is not a death sentence except nothing is done to properly tackle the it even as she advised parents not to keep children with the disease to themselves but identify with organization that are committed to tackling the scourge of the disease.
On his part, the Medical Director, Pfizer, Dr. Koje Soroh said that the high rate of sickle cell disorder can be prevented through proper management and increased disease awareness programs especially in rural areas.
According to the Director, “Pfizer will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders to advance the medical community and to provide access to appropriate health care services and quality medicine in Nigeria and drive advocacy in the markets”.
Driven by the need to create a healthy world, Pfizer applies science and our global resources to improve health and well- being at every stage of life and also strives to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines for people.
As the world leading bio pharmaceutical company, Pfizer collaborates with health care providers, government and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world.