Opinion

Breaking: Gov Obiano signs Sickle Cell Law

3 Years imprisonment, #200, 000 fine for offenders

As part of the efforts to reduce the controllable birth of sickle cell patients, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, recently signed the Anambra State Sickle Cell Law published by Fides Media report Mercy Hill  Alexander Johnson Adejoh and Precious Ukeje,
This was made known to Fides by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on General Hospital, Mrs Nwamaka Arinze-Okoh, who read the amended law while addressing religious leaders, community leaders, government stakeholders, care givers and carriers of sickle cell at the St Andrew’s Catholic Church, Adazi-Nnukwu, Saturday June 19, 2020.

Mrs Arinze-Okoh, who doubles as the Technical Adviser to the Honourable Commissioner for Health on Sickle Cell Disorder, noted that the law also has made provisions for the creation of skill acquisition centres for people living with Sickle Cell Disease.

The law read in part, ‘ as from the commencement of the law, persons with unqualified Sickle Cell Status Certificate, SCS, shall NOT be married as husband and wife; ‘No parent, guardian, person or group of persons shall give out a maiden in marriage without verification of a qualified SCS certificate of the couple;

‘No religious body or registry shall wed any person (s) without verification of a qualified SCS certificate of the couple;

‘Any person who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to the fine of #200, 000 or imprisonment to a term of three (3) years or both;

‘The Sickle Cell Status Certificate shall be issued by a qualified and licensed medical laboratory scientist,’.

Reacting to the law, Mrs Goodness Emeka a human right activist, expressed satisfaction with the Willie Obiano adminstration for what she termed long overdue law.

This law she noted, would avert the incessant death of sickle cell carriers in Anambra State noting that the pain carriers go through during crisis was unbearable and disheartening she said.

‘It is one to thing to adopt a law and it’s another to implement it. I wish that the government and religious bodies will implement this law to the later with every strigent measure, ‘ she added

Speaking on behalf of the carriers of Sickle Cell, Mrs Aisha Edwards, the National Coordinator of People Living With Sickle Cell Disorder, appreciated Gov Obiano for what she termed necessary intervention.

She however urged religious bodies to ensure that the law is implemented at all cost, adding that every child living with sickle cell disease undergo what she called heartbreaking pain during crisis.

Mrs Edwards also called on Ndi Anambra to avoid the act of discriminating against carriers of the disease adding that such act in most cases leave carriers traumatized.

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