By Okunade Adekunle
The Lawmaker representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency 1 and Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Olusola Abdulhakeem Sokunle, has tasked partners to do genotype test before going into marriage, lamenting the high rate of sickle cell in the country.
Sokunle, who said this while fielding questions from journalists, at this year Advocacy Walk Against Sickle Cell in Oshodi, explained that most youths of nowadays are ignorant of the essence of engaging in medical check of their genotype before going into marriage, thereby make them to give birth to sickle cell children.
The Chairman House Committee on Health Services said that the Advocacy Walk was to intensify the awareness among the constituents and as well to educate them on preventive measures, saying that awareness cannot be left in the hands of government alone.
Sokunle added that he was moved to sponsor the awareness exercise in Oshodi when he was approached by the Executive Director of the Genotype Foundation, Mrs Doris Gbemiloye, adding that there is need to encourage NGOs on such programme to reduce sickle cell in the country.
He stressed” I was moved to sponsor this advocacy walk in the way I can be involved when Mrs Doris Gbemiloye approached me on the reasons to do awareness for our people in Oshodi on genotype test before they get married to their partners. I think NGOs of this type should be more encouraged so that the disease can be totally eradicated or reduced to the minimal”
Sokunle advised ” If you carry the sickle cell trait, seeing a genetic counselor before trying to conceive can help you understand your risk of having a child with sickle cell anemia. He or she can also explain possible treatments, preventive measures and reproductive options”
In her comment, the Executive Director of Genotype Foundation, Duchess Doris Gbemiloye, stated that genotype is a critical issue people do not talk about and also create advocacy about, saying that was the reason the organization chose the constituency to create awareness to the people on sickle cell disorders.
Gbemiloye added that the public should not stigmatise a child with sickle cell as a dead child, adding further that the child can be successful in every spheres of life.
She explained that there is need for the youths to know the preventive measures, so that when they grow to the stage of marriage they would be able to make a rightful decision.
” There is the need for the youths of Oshodi/Isolo Constituency to know the preventive measures, so that when they grow to the stage of marriage they will be able to make a rightful decision not based on emotions. With this awareness walk, the youths will be informed about the need for genotype test before marriage because if they are not informed, they will be deformed”
” If they are AS and AC when they want to marry, they should also know about the necessary things to do when the woman is pregnant. With 8 to10 weeks, the woman does what they called prenatal diagnosis to know the genotype of the child at that stage”
She added ” Those that cannot afford that can also do ‘newborn screening’ Sickle Cell patients should not play with taking their drugs as prescribed”
Mrs Felicia Oke, who is a mother of a sickle cell child, narrated her experience, saying that she and the husband were ignorant of checking their genotype before getting married.
Oke added that her first born does not suffer from sickle cell but immediately after her first child, her other children were affected by sickle cell.
She also advised youths to do their genotype test before marriage so as to avoid her own type of experience.
The Year 2018 Advocacy Walk started from the secretariat of Oshodi/Isolo LGA to Owoseni Street to Dauda Street to Mosaku Street to Orile Oshodi then to Church Street.