The Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2010 to help increase awareness on Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD) and to ensure that people living with this disorder have access to the quality healthcare that they deserve.
Since the recognition and declaration of June 19th as the World Sickle Cell Day by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008, the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF) has always organized week long activities in order to commemorate the day.
This year’s World Sickle Cell Day (WSCD) was no exception as there were lots of events, media rounds, free genotype screening and Genetic Counselling amongst other activities executed in both SCAF major territories Lagos and FCT. The World Sickle Cell Day 2016 started in the country with an internet breaking One word campaign where people used one word to describe what sickle cell means to them. click here to watch https://youtu.be/KEwmC6f9KaM
Awareness was on full blast with the 72 hour marathon Know Your Genotype Campaign (KYG Campaigns) i.e. free genotype testing and counselling which spanned locations in Apo resettlement, Kubwa and Garki in Abuja. Because we believe in the power of numbers, SCAF Lagos and the Sickle Cell Foundation went on a SCD community outreach in Ijede area of Ikorodu and the turn out was impressive with over 500 free genotype tests, genetic counselling and screening done.
SCAF Lagos took it a notch higher by participating in an all Sickle cell supporting NGO coalition “Red Umbrella walk” which was excellent with major sightings from media, SC warriors and celebrities like Honourable Desmond Elliot who help passionately to champion the cause.
SCAF Abuja, without pumping the brakes ensured that the beneficiaries and warriors under her care were not left out as the “Warriors Circle” forum was organized with the theme “Spirit Indestructible” Nura’s story in order to enable warriors learn from seasoned medical experts and experienced warriors in the FCT on the Sickle Cell Disease nutrition, first response and emotional health safety. They left the event with free drugs and a renewed sense of hope and survival.
Lagos was tasked with a blood drive in Agege in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Service of the state to talk to indigenes on the importance of regular non-remunerated blood donation and the feedback was positive.
The SCAF team through out the week worked round the clock to ensure that there was massive awareness and sensitization of the general public on the sickle cell disease through media rounds at Wazobia FM, Cool FM, AIT television, KISS FM, Wazobia TV, NTA, Nigeria Info and Rainbow Fm to explain the importance of the day and shed light on the misconceptions surrounding sickle cell disease both in Lagos and Abuja.
Unfortunately, SCAF lost one of its founding members Mohammed Nura Abdullahi, who finally had his last duel with Sickle Cell Disease on 11th June 2016. His death was a huge blow to SCAF, its members and volunteers. It re-emphasized the need to keep going against all odds to ensure that the mission and vision of SCAF is spread across the globe. Amidst tears and high emotions, a memorial service was organized for him which ended with a tree planting ceremony in his honor.
SCAF organized a syposium in Partnership with the United States Embassy on Indigenous mapping and management of sickle cell disease for Targeted advocacy, policy making and practical action. Present at the event were policy makers and various members of the public. It was agreed at the end of the event that there was a need for a concerted effort by all in order to fight the dreaded sickle cell disease.
The future of Sickle Cell was explored in both states through talks on Bone Marrow Transplant by SCAF partner Narayana Hospital’s seasoned paediatric haematologist Dr Sunraj Bath.
We drew the curtain on the weeks activity with the unveiling of our newest brand ambassador musical sensation Adekunle Gold. He joined Zahra Buhari to lend his voice to the sickle cell struggle and we are so excited to have him onboard.
Although the World Sickle Cell Day 2016 is over, the fight against sickle cell is not. It is important that everyone is sensitized and informed on the issues of Sickle Cell Disease and the need to know their genotypes.