Sickle Cell: U.S Envoy advocates genotype testing, awareness

James Entwistle

James Entwistle

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle on Monday advocated compulsory genotype testing and robust awareness campaign to curb sickle cell scourge in Nigeria.

James made this call at a symposium organised by the Embassy as part of activities to mark 2016 World Sickle Cell Day in Abuja.

The envoy said that the disease affects millions of Nigerians as well as thousands of Americans, adding that Nigeria still maintains the lead among carriers of the disease anywhere in the world.

“Sickle cell disease affects Millions of Nigerians as well as estimated 100,000 Americans,’’ he noted.

The envoy expressed optimism in the robust partnership between Nigeria and the U.S. government on efforts to curb the disease.

He also lauds the efforts of Ms Zahra Buhari, daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, for providing free genotype testing and counselling across the country and that of the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Yemi Osinbajo.

Similarly, one of the panellists, Dr Seyi Oniyangi, who raised concern on the impact of the disease on the carriers, supported the need for more awareness and compulsory testing.

Oniyangi called on government to put in place adequate measures for compulsory testing at all levels, beginning from schools with a view to breaking the circle of the scourge in the country.

The medical expert also stressed the need for Nigerians to be mindful of their reproductive choices, which according to her is a panacea for curbing sickle cell.

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