The wife of Kaduna State Governor, Hajiya Hadiza Isma El-Rufai today, donated routine drugs and customized exercise books to the Sickle Cell Patient Health Promotion Centre, (SCPHPC) in the state for onward distribution to its patients. Presenting the drugs to the Founder of the Centre, Hajiya Badiya Magaji, the first lady stressed the need to show love and care to patients of sickle cell so as to give them a sense of belonging. She however, advised every intending couple to carry out genotype test before marriage, saying genotype test remain the only antidote to sickle cell anaemia. Speaking earlier, Kaduna State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Mohammed Baba noted that even though sickle cell disorder is a global health problem, Nigeria is home to the highest population of carriers of the gene. “In Nigeria one in every four persons are carriers of the sickle cell gene, a figure well above 40million. It is estimated that over 150,000 babies are born with symptomatic sickle cell anaemia annually in the country. These figures are disturbing and present to us a daunting task,” she said.She described the occasion as an attempt to tackle one aspect of the tasks, noting that other aspects including research, counseling, genotype testing, pre-natal diagnosis and increased awareness to end stigmatization must continue. Responding, the Founder of SCPHPC, Hajiya Badiya commended the wife of the governor for her show of love towards sicklers. She said the Centre has over 6,000 registered patients who receive monthly free routine drugs.

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