• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Abia to note babies’ genotype on birth certificate to stem sickle cell disease

Sickle Cell Patients

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has vowed that the State will pass a law that would ensure that the genotype of babies born in the State are stated in their birth certificates to reduce cases of sickle cell disease.

Ikpeazu stated this Wednesday while declaring open the 22nd Annual National Conference/Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors of Nigeria (GMLD), currently holding in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State.

The theme of the conference is “Persistent Sickle Cell Disease in Africa – Role of the Private Medical Laboratories in its Mitigation and Possible Eradication”.

Represented at the event by Eze Egbulefu, permanent secretary in the State’s Ministry of Health, Ikpeazu, expressed the readiness of his administration to partner the body in order to end quacks and quackery in the profession.

He also commended Vicar Hope Foundation, a pet project of his wife, Nkechi Ikpeazu, for their effort in the fight against Sickle Cell disease.

Chioma Austin-Onuorah, president, GMLD, called on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to review its operations to enable the inclusion of private laboratory operators in the system.

She observed that the inclusion of the operators would reduce the under-utilization of the private Laboratories, which is discouraging further investments into the sector.

She also urged the Nigerian government and tax authorities to streamline the tax systems in order to avoid overburdening small businesses, like private laboratories to enable them to play their role in Nigeria’s development.

She explained that the GMLD created the conference to discuss and address issues that promote a healthy lifestyle and preventive healthcare.

She noted that the sector, through its services, promotes accessible, timely laboratory and preventive health screens, which prevent and predict disease onset and preserve traceable data for health interventions.

Okezie Okamgba, chairman, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Abia branch noted that the choice of Abia for the event was no mistake, stressing that Abia has a record of being at the top with the highest number of Science Laboratory practitioners in private practice.

He observed that the conference came at the right time when the world is yearning for partnership between private operators and public sector operatives in facilitating diagnosis for COVID-19.

He affirmed that topics revolving around Sickle Cell Disease, an inherited disorder, and COVID-19 that is communicable both of which induce morbidity and mortality through thrombosis formation would be fascinating.

He expressed hope that the knowledge acquired through the conference would help reposition private practice in the sector and complement the work of public operators.

Lawrence Chigbu, a professor and rector, Abia State College of Health Science and Management Technology, who was the keynote speaker, said that the theme of the conference on which he spoke was very apt for the time.

Chigbu said sickle cell damages bone marrow and kidneys among other destructive effects on the human body, adding that the frequency of the occurrence of the genes responsible for it in Africa is up to 40 percent.

He explained that the occurrence of the disease in Nigeria is about 18 percent, noting that practitioners in laboratories, should ensure they do proper tests and counseling to unmarried couples to stop the disease.

He expressed optimism that biologists and laboratory professionals have the capacity to curb the disease and urged them to do their work professionally to check its persistence.