The Erikpejaiye Otoikhioan (EO) Foundation with the Concord Times Communication and the Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) have committed to tackle sickle cell disease in Africa. They made their commitment on Friday 24th January 2020, at the NIDO office on Jomo Kenyatta Road in Freetown. The Secretary General of NIDO, Bala Tijani, said they are seeking the welfare of their countrymen outside Nigeria and supporting Erikpejaiye Otoikhioan to stop the spread of sickle cell disease in Africa, which he said has been killing thousands of people and disturbing many others. According to the Founder and owner of EO Foundation, Erikpejaiye Otoikhioan, sickle cell disease is a genetic problem and not witchcraft or infections. “Sickle cell is not curable but with proper management, people can live with it without any crisis,” he said. He said sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from a person’s parents. “The most common type is known as sickle cell anaemia (SCA), which results in an abnormality in the oxygen carrying protein haemoglobin found in red blood cells.”
He said the first step to end sickle cell disease “…is for people to know their genotype. People don’t know their genotype in Africa and that is why Africa has the highest numbers.” He urged Sierra Leoneans to be going for the test before getting married. He applauded the efforts of Margaret Cassel, former Miss Sierra Leone contestant, who has been living with sickle cell for over 21 years. “She has courage to come out and stand the test of time, despite all the pain.” He crowned Margaret as an Ambassador for his project. Cassel said sickle cell disease is a very painful one, which has a lot of effects on her over the years. She said she does not want the unborn babies to go through such a pain she is going through, noting that is the reason why they are engaging in such a battle. She said she got the sickle cell disease due to her parents failure to do the genotype test. The program ended with the distribution of sickle cell drugs to the 34 Military Hospital.
By Mohamed J.Bah