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Sickle cell body secures free health insurance for members



COORDINATOR, Kebbi Sickle Cell Association (KESCA), Hajiaya Hariza Yahaya-Shantali has  said the association had secured 300 free healthcare insurance slots for its members from the Kebbi Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (KECHMA).

  She made the disclosure on Saturday, in Birnin Kebbi, while speaking with journalists after the monthly meeting of the association.

  The meeting deliberated on the challenges of the disease.

  Yahaya-Shantali said the essence of the meeting was to mentor the younger ones on the challenges they may likely face in living a life with the disease.

  “This is because sickle cell comes with a lot of challenges, therefore, it is important if the child knows what he is expected to face and how to overcome it, it will help him to carry on with his activities in life.

  “We should not see sickle cell as a burden or a barrier to success in life. We also use the forum to interact with medical doctors and health personnel and distribute routine drugs to our members,” she said.

  She described sickle cell as a disease with huge financial, economic and emotional burden to parents and guardians, adding that it required routine attention.

  “So, with these slots we got from KECHMA, we are very grateful, the burden of 300 of our members financially is reduced.

  “This gesture will address the financial burden of 300 patients from among us,” she said.

  On the constraints of the association, the coordinator identified financial challenges of over 2,000 members who were always in constant need of medical help as the topmost.

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  She said that inadequate finances was hindering enlightenment on the disease at the grassroots levels, appealing to government, donor agencies, philanthropists and wealthy individuals to redress the ugly trend.

  Speaking, Dr Sadiq Ibrahim-Maianu from Haematology Unit, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), BirninKebbi, advised persons living with sickle cell not to see the disease as the end of life, instead,”they should be strong and courageous.”

  He appealed for support and encouragement from the families and friends of the patients, as well as the society ,to give them a sense of belonging.

  Ibrahim-Maianu cautioned parents and guardians against frequent transfusion of blood on sickle cell patients, saying, ”the action may cause more harm than good.”

  The hematologist advised patients to frequently visit hospitals for their clinic, urging, “they should ensure that their hospitals know the level of their blood because it varies from person to person.

  “There are some with 11, 16, 20 and some 23. No matter how much blood is transfused, it will still come back to its original level.

  “So, if there is a crisis and you visit a new hospital that does not know your blood level, they may assume that you are short of blood, so, they will ask for blood transfusion.”

  The medical doctor advised people to always go for tests before marriage, He advised those with AS and SS genotypes to marry persons with AA genotype to avert chances of giving birth to children with sickle cell anaemia.

  A member of the association, Malama Fatima-Zara Abubakar, advised persons living with sickle cell on regular use of warm water during cold season, consistent and routine visit to hospitals for clinical, regular intake of drugs according to prescription and constant use of mosquito nets while sleeping, among others.   

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