Touch A Cell

Touch A Cell

One day in a year is definitely not enough to celebrate the courage of patients who touch a cell, educate the populace and create awareness about a disease that has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation. Almost every family has a story.

Nnamdi’s birth was celebrated with pomp and pageantry. By the age of three, he had made so many rounds to the hospital that his parents lost count. One day, his parents travelled to the city with him and he had a seizure and was hospitalised. It was then that his parents realised that the union of AS and AS birthed SS.

Fola and Aminu knew they were both carriers yet their love for each other was so strong that all warnings fell on deaf ears. After 10 years of marriage and two burials of offspring, they individually began to wonder whether love is stronger than the pangs of mourning.

to visit the hospital

Ajadi enjoyed good health until a sore in his old age led him to visit the hospital. There he was tested and told he is a “sickler”. Since the kinds of symptoms described were alien to him, doctors began to question him about his diet. Ajadi from Ekiti for most of his life had eaten more of yam for breakfast and pounded yam for lunch. His diet only recently changed leading to the breakdown of his immunity. From the research that was conducted, it was discovered that Yam has anti-sickling agents and because it is natural it has little or no side effect. Ugwu was also discovered to produce iron and increase blood count. So, what magic can a diet of yam and ugwu (small serving) do to an anaemic patient?

Nigeria is blessed with many natural and human resources meant to sustain us, unfortunately these resources are not well researched neither are medicinal properties of herbs and foods harnessed for maximum benefit.

Ignorance about the sickle cell anaemia has birthed more patients. According to Deaconess Toyin Adesola, author of Still Standing, whose parents though medical personnel – surgeon and nurse – got married despite both having the AS genotype, “My parents got married in the ’60s and there was hardly anybody that knew about the SCA then.” Lack of information and education about the transmission, effects and management of the s-cell continue to lead many to regret pleading the love amendment.

Ms. Funke Akiyode

Some years back, Ms. Funke Akiyode, the Founder of Shout Global Health Inc, attended a Sickle Cell Conference in Baltimore where she met with a man she identified as “Baba”. Baba who was then in his sixties had come to share a rare herb recipe that has become a saving grace for children living with the s-cell in his community. Not too long thereafter, Baba transited to the great beyond, but not without passing on the recipe to his children. Not finding the $3M required for Research and Development (R & D), Baba’s children sold this miracle recipe to business savvy Indians. The Indians not only got the R & D underway, they, based on a pact and the need to be close to the botanical properties, located the factory in Nigeria. True or False; this is said to be the story that birthed Nicosan.

The commissioning of the Xechem factory by President Olusegun Obasanjo was done amidst a lot of media bling-bling. Commercial production began in 2006 but the drug which was sold for N3, 000 i.e. $20 was of course not affordable to the average Nigerian.