First off let me start by apologizing for my extensive hiatus (without notice). I was not aware that would happen, especially not for this long… to be quiet honest, I (still) don’t understand what it takes to keep a blog and I have come to a conclusion; I am TERRIBLE at this. But I’m sure one or more of you can understand that life is just… well, life. I’ve been on a roller-coaster throughout the year, all I can say to that is WHAT A YEAR. Regardless, I apologize with a side of sprinkled hugs😉.
Just as I am writing this, it occurred to me that November is over (SAY WHAAAAHHH??).. as in tomorrow is the beginning of the last month of another year and I’m quite excited about that; so ready for this year to be overrrr, hasn’t been the most pleasant year tbh, but I digress. And just in case you have not noticed, that also means winter is officially here #sigh… These are the tough times folks, tough for some of us out here. The mission remains the same nonetheless – stay warm at ALL times. So you can bet your bottom dollar that I have being doing my possible best with that. Another thing is to keep hydrated and get good amount of sleep… wwhich I am failing woefully at SMH.
Anyway, on to the main post, I just so happen to wake up to this sad article this morning, actually the real truth behind that “waking up” is that I have this bad habit of always reaching for my phone first thing after I open my eyes from sleep, and this morning was no different. Except this time I found myself on twitter (don’t ask) and saw a RT of this article of General Buhari’s daughter’s demise- she died of sickle cell. Needless to say I took an interest pretty quick and begin to search, that has now lasted throughout the day, focusing solely on advocacy. Throughout my search, I was hoping to find a sickle-cell advocacy article or an organization, and to my surprise very very few existed. This made me question how serious our Nigerian government takes this sickle cell issue, and according to my recent findings, Nigeria has the highest (HIGHEST) patients with sickle cell in the world- the world??!! OMG. I don’t even know where to begin with this… Why in the 21st century does the government not have a policy in place for better healthcare for sickle cell patients for ‘gossake’. Thousands of people are dying from this disease and the FG does not think this is an issue that they should pay attention to, it’s alarming.
Thing is, I have always wanted to be a part of a solution to sickle cell. I always thought I’d go to med school and find a cure, but that became a long shot after reality began to set in, but that never damped my interest and probably won’t, like ever… I have always envisioned that I will contribute to the sickle-cell community, and this is when advocacy came to my mind. I have an interest in advocating for people with sickle cell, most especially in Nigeria where there is very little attention and knowledge about the disease. The issue seems to be getting out of control there and I feel the government and the society contributes hugely to the problem.
Very little of the Nigeria population have a full understanding of the disease and therefore do not possess proper knowledge for care, scarily enough some of these people are the medical personnels. Not only that, many other sectors are overlooked, starting with the hospitals- these healthcare facilities are not (or barely) equipped and a small amount of knowledgeable medical personnels are available, why the heck is that. No medical care procedure in place for patients, so you have patients waiting alongside other regular patients for care–always the worst part, I’ve experience this and know it is definitely a risk to the patient.
Schools are also another sector that needs major attention, most of the affected patients are children (unfortunately not all are able to survive through childhood). It has been said that children spends most of their time outside of their homes, so therefore a policy should be in place to protect the affected children when under an external care e.g. school. Teachers should be educated… in fact, everybody needs to be educated, the awareness vehicle needs to go into overdrive in Nigeria. It is sad that up until this article, no one had an idea that General Buhari had a child with sickle cell… more attention needs to be paid to this issue, the patients needs a voice, perhaps maybe Gen. Buhari will sort out to fight for a policy and better healthcare provision for sickle cell patients, errr one can only hope.
While some of us are fortunate that we are able to either afford the medical attention we need in Nigeria or are lucky to be in countries such as the U.S that provides adequate medical care for patients. I can’t help but be concerned of what really becomes of those in our beloved Nigeria, where the majority of the population are in poverty and cannot afford treatments. Where most of the population are clueless and still have a dinosaurs-age mentality about the disease, and royally clueless to treatments and prevention. At what point should we start holding the government to the end of their bargain.. because even though a lot of folks are out there doing the little they can, without the support of the government there is limitation to the efforts. A national campaign is a good place to start but that is just my opinion. That said, I continue to feel the pain of the affected Nigerians affected by SCD and hope to one day be able to advocate and bring changes to how society handles this health issue. Till then, I am open to comments and suggestions