The Embassy of the United States in Nigeria in collaboration with the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation, have recently marked the World Sickle Cell Day 2016 in Nigeria.
In his opening remark, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria H.E. James Entwistle stated that the foundation is improving awareness of the sickle cell traits with the education of people on the choices they face in reproductive decision when a parent has sickle cell.
“The United States and Nigeria have a broad and deep partnership, and nowhere is that more the case than in the health sector. Indeed, if you add together all of the various U.S. health initiatives supported by several different health agencies here in Nigeria, we have one of our largest health partnerships anywhere in the world.”
Ambassador Entwistle thanked all that have supported the foundation with special reference to the wife of the Vice-president Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbajo for ardently promoting self-sufficiency for those who have the sickle cell disease. He also recognized the daughter of Nigeria’s President, Zahra Buhari, for promoting free genotype testing and genetic counselling as a preventive measure.
Founders of the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation, the Azinge’s, were commended for putting the event together and their dedication to sickle cell awareness during their free time.
“The commitment of the highest levels of leadership within Nigerian society to genotype testing and awareness is impressive and a demonstration of their commitment to the Nigerian people,” said Amb. Entwistle.
Sickle cell disease affects millions of Nigerians, as well as an estimated 100,000 Americans. More than 100,000 Nigerian children are born each year with sickle cell. Research indicates over 40 million Nigerians are carriers of the “S” gene.
The foundation’s work is important in terms of education and testing to ensure potential parents are more aware of the risks of passing sickle cell disease to their children.