By Anthony A Akin-Omolafe
In anticipation of the June 19th world sickle cell day celebration, Chiemma empowerment foundation (CEF) – a Foundation that takes care of children with sickle cell disease – in conjunction with the Federation of Catholic Medical and Dental Students (FECAMDS), NGOs and other partners, organized a sickle cell awareness rally and road walk at Aroma Junction in Awka, with the purpose of creating awareness on the importance of genotype and genotype compatibility in marriage and conducting free genotype test for members of the public.
The event themed: “Know your genotype, know peace”, held on Saturday, 18 June 2022, was graced by both the old and young members of the Chiemma Empowerment foundation, Chief Emeka Vincent Igwe, who was participated in the walk, members of the Charity Community Development Service (CDS) group, medical and health CDS group of the National Youth Service Corps and people from the community.
Mrs Chinwe Frances Nnagbo, the founder of Chiemma Empowerment Foundation, addressing the press on the details of the road walk, laid emphasis on the importance of the public to knowing their genotype.
‘When we know our genotype then we will be able to get married to someone whose genotype is compatible with ours,’ she explained, noting that those with the genotype, AS, were known as carriers, and thus should know early that they were supposed to get married to someone with genotype AA.
Noting that there were over 105 children living with sickle cell disease in her foundation, she said the aim of the foundation was to avoid people bringing forth more children with sickle cell disease to the world to suffer. She added that those that had already brought forth children living with sickle cell disease were not to be condemned.
She said that children and the youth of nowadays who were not married were the major focus, maintaining that ignorance was no longer an excuse. She also said that Chiemma Empowerment Foundatiuon had a branch called Chiemma Community Children’s Home that cared for less privileged children.
Chief Emeka Vincent Igwe, an aspirant for the Awka South and North House of Representatives seat, discouraged genotype incompatibility in marriage and suggested the need for careful choice of partners to enhance genotype compatibility.
‘If you are an SS or an AS, you should look for an AA for compatibility, because that’s the only way we can come out of this genotype incompatibility,’ he said, while advising the public to get their permanent voter card (PVC).
Oyebamiji Gbenga Adesola, the president of the Charity CDS and Akande Aishat, the vice president of the Medical and Health CDS, National Youth Service Corps, expressed their gladness on behalf of the CDS groups for their involvement in the rally.
The rally which lasted for hours, proceeded from Aroma Junction, Awka, to Eke-Awka Market.