Opinion

Anambra State begins free Health Insurance for Sickle Cell Persons

…As Chiemma Empowerment Foundation in collaboration with Anambra State Government celebrates World Sickle Cell Day 2021

By Mercy Hill

The wife of the Anambra State Governor, Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, has advised young people to undergo genotype compatibility test before fulfilling any marital rites , exhorting that  persons with Sickle Cell Disease, should  practice healthy habits like drinking enough water and eating nutritious food. She pledged her unalloyed support to persons living with sickle cell anemia. Mrs Obiano said this through the Director of the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA), Hon. Simeon Onyemaechi, on Saturday 19 June 2021, during the World Sickle Cell Day, organized by the Chiemma Empowerment Foundation (CEF) in collaboration with the Anambra State Government.

The event which held at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, had its theme as ”The Importance of Genotype Compatibility in Marriage”.

In their separate speeches Dr. Onyemaechi, who serves as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health,  and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Anambra State on general hospitals and Sickle cell Affairs, Mrs Nwamaka Adaeze Arinze Oko, announced that the Anambra State Government had begun a free medical health insurance scheme for people living with sickle cell disease, explaining that the kind gesture was in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria and that almost two thousand warriors had benefited already with more slots for those living in Anambra State.

Mrs Oko, pleaded with young people to go for genotype compatibility test before involving themselves in any form of relationship. Referring to the sickle cell children as warriors, she advised parents to desist from any form of using their warriors as begging incentive, adding that such  could kill the self-confidence of their children. She encouraged them to always fight their ways out of any situation they found themselves. “Do not kill your children’s self-confidence with begging” She harped.

For his part, the Director of Fides Media, Rev Fr Dr Martin Añusi, charged all to avoid being religious fanatics without spirituality, explaining how people forgot their God’s given gift pursuing spiritualists for the commonest things they could solve themselves.

He exhorted them to always remember that there was something great and distinct about them and should always try to bring out the best in them. He reminded the warriors that grace of God is always at work even in our most challenging life situations, urging them neve to live with the victim mentality syndrome. “Always remember”, he charged them, “that there is this wonderful person called you, in spite of your conditions”. “There is a wonderful person called you” Fr Añusi said.

Addressing the parents of Sickle cell patients, Fr Anusi advised them to nurture and direct their kids properly because even Sickle Cell children could become great personalities in the future.

Teaching on Sickle cell management and genotype compatibility, a hematologist from Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, NAUTH, Nnewi, Dr Ifeoma Adiuba, mentioned misdiagnosis from health workers, deception from staff members, lack of female education and empowerment, little or no grassroot awareness, stubbornness from couples, as the causative agents of Sickle Cell disease.

She added that a comprehensive health care by a well-trained hematologist was one way the multi system disorder (Sickle cell disease) could be managed.

One of the warriors, Miss Ifunanya Faith Michael Nwanadile, who took them through her experiences as a Sickle cell person, said that warriors should find who they were and seek for their life purpose. “Learn to forgive your parents and love your parents and then try hard to fulfil your purpose ” She urged.

In her vote of thanks, the Founder Chiemma Empowerment Foundation, Mrs Chinwe Nnagbo, thanked the Anambra State Government for their support to the warriors and appreciated all sponsors as she extolled the kind gestures of the wife of the governor. Mrs Nnagbo re-echoed the need for all parents with warrior kids to register their kids in the Health Insurance Scheme provided by the government.

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