By EricJames Ochigbo
Rep Salam Bamidele (PDP-Osun) has pledged his support for the establishment of a sickle cell centre at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada.
Bamidele said this when he received members of Pediatric Sickle Support Initiative of Nigeria (PSSIN) a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), in his office on Wednesday in Abuja.
The legislator who sponsored the national agency for sickle cell disease and other heritable blood disorder prevention and treatment bill, promised to ensure the establishment of the centre.
“There is nothing we can do that is too much for this category of our fellow citizens. Iam assuring you I will take up the task and by God’s grace, we will work together to make sure we get the result.
“As we speak, the bill has passed the committee stage and the report is already before the house. Iam sure that any moment from now, it will go for third reading and to the Senate for concurrence for onward transmission to the President.
“We need a lot of advocacy ahead of the passage and transmission of the bill; because sometimes people just think it is normal,” he said.
Bamidele added:”We need a lot of advocacy so that even the presidency will be aware of the enormity of the problems we are about to solve and the need for assent.
“All we are asking for is that we have an agency that can coordinate all the activities including counselling.
”We need to do more in that regard and I give you the commitment to go through on all of these.”
The lawmaker commended the NGO for taking up the plight of sickle cell patients, urging it to synergies with other NGOs for greater advocacy.
Earlier, the Chairman of PSSIN, Mr Stephen Adesina who led the delegation said that the NGO was interested in establishing a sickle cell centre at the University of Abuja.
He said that the activities of the NGO were geared towards bettering the lives of the people living with sickle cell disorder though social interaction and ensuring that Nigeria was connected and not left behind.
“We are looking forward to having a sickle cell center within the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, what we have generally is hematology department.
“In these departments, when a child with sickle cell attack comes, he is asked to go to the main library where records will be retrieved before attending to that child.
“If a child with sickle cell needs to undergo some investigation, he goes to the same lab where multitude of people are gathered to carry out the investigation.
“We are hoping to have a sickle cell centre where we will have nurses, doctors, laboratory, our record office so that when a child is down with sickle cell, he can get the required urgent treatment,’’ he said.
Adesina said that most tertiary health institutions in the country were still not using hydroxyurea, a modern medication to manage sickle cell. (NAN)