The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services has shone the light on Sickle Cell Anemia, to bring to the fore, knowledge and understanding of the disease as well as challenges experienced by parents, families, and caregivers. This was during a ceremony on June 26, 2020, to make this year’s Sickle Cell Awareness Day at Nkwen Baptist Health Centre (NBHC).
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Chimi Emerencia, Supervisor of Nursing Services at NBHC, called on parents and caregivers to respect all pieces of advice and instructionsdished out by health personnel at the facility’s Sickle Cell Clinic, on keeping sufferers healthy, to live a better quality of life. “If they say the [your] children should drink much water during the day, encourage them to do so. Be supportive of them; in their education support them, in their feeding patterns support them and in their day to day life support them,” advised Mrs. Chimi.
The 2020 Sickle Awareness Day at NBHC saw the distribution of COVID-19 Prevention kits to Sicklers now termed, ‘Warriors’ to combat the coronavirus diseases. The kits were donated by the Joy2Endure Foundation.
Jennifer Mukenyu, representative of Joy2Endure Foundation says our primary reason for donating these prevention kits is because people living with sickle cell anemia are one of the high-risk groups, which may get severely sick if they contract COVID-19. “This donation is to help us [warriors] to stay safe,” adds Jennifer, being a warrior herself.
Joy2Endure Foundation is an organization with the mandate of raising awareness about sickle cell anemia and helping warriors live a better quality of life. It is worth mentioning that the establishment was founded by Arrey Echi, a sickle cell warrior too.
The donated COVID-19 prevention kits comprised of masks, alcohol-based hand rubs, and folic acid.
Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) is a heritable genetic and sometimes fatal disease that causes red blood cell disorder. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Sickle Cell is one of the main causes of premature death amongst children under the age of five in various African countries. In Cameroon, it is a public health challenge and health experts say education is key in curbing the disease.
The burden of Sickle Cell Anemia is borne by the entire family. Dora Wirba, mother of five says “I almost when into a trance when my fifth child was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. I felt frustrated and asked a lot of questions. However, when my husband and I did a sickle cell screen and found to be carriers, we had no choice but to stick to health advice, to help our daughter,” detailed Dora.
Today, having adhered to health advice from the Sickle Cell Clinic at NBHC, where her five-year-daughter comes for monthly checks, Dora with a broad smile on, says my daughter is fine. Sickle Cell is like any other disease. I want to thank the nurses, doctors, and nutrition counselors who have to help me to stand by my daughter with courage.
Worthy of note is the fact that Dora’s daughter was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia when she was barely seven months old. Today, aged five, and running around at the clinic is telling how much support the family has given her. “I make sure she feeds well, take in enough fluids in the day and honour her rendezvous to the clinic always,” stressed Dora.
World Sickle Cell Day is a United Nation’s recognised day to raise awareness of sickle cell at the national and international levels. The United Nations General Assembly on December 22, 2008 adopted a resolution that recognises sickle cell disease as a public health problem and “one of the world’s foremost genetic diseases.”