According to him, “The likely consequences of lack of awareness of the sickle cell is that there will be lack of understanding of reproduction decision in people with sickle cell trait (SCT), and thus producing more sickle cell anemia children for as future generations.”
Keyston Bank PLC in collaboration with leading UK based non-for profit, non-government health care-giving organization, TunMicro Sickle Cell Foundation, TSCF and Slum2School Africa, recently reached out to over 700 beneficiaries in Makoko area of Lagos with a free genotype test and sickle cell awareness campaign program.
In a one week long health related humanitarian service programe, the joint Nigeria and UK based TunMicro and Slum2school teams supported by Keystone Bank visited about three communities and five schools within the area to offer their humanitarian services to the beneficiaries.
The seven-day exercise, which commenced on Monday April 29 and ended on Saturday May 6, 2019 recorded a great turnout of beneficiaries between the ages of 2 and 15 at the venue of the exercise where they were offered free sickle cell awareness and genotype tests by the TunMicro team.
Speaking on the development, Mr. Ismaila Olatunji Sule, Founder/Executive Director, TSCF expressed fulfillment at the organization’s gesture towards the decision to take the TSCF care-giving service to Makoko, describing the area as a key area of need for such health care attention in Lagos.
Mr. Sule is a Specialist Biomedical Scientist with the Medical Microbiology Department of the South-Eastern Health and Social Care Trust at Ulster Hospital in Belfast, United Kingdom.
He described his idea of the TunMicro free genotype test initiative as his own way of giving back to the society through his field of endeavour and what he knows and loves to do best.
He also noted that, community, parents and guardians may not be able to manage a known sickle cell anemia, which may result to death before teen age.
“Our education program is designed to help people living with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) or SCT implement a parenting plan that will support their informed reproduction health behaviours, thus reducing the spread of this disorder,” the TunMicro initiator explained.
Expressing delight at the initiative, Ms. Izore Bamawo, Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, Keystone Bank, said, “For us at Keystone Bank, we see this exercise as a very laudable and credible initiative, considering the fact that TunMicro had embarked on the exercise for a whole week. We have never seen any organization that embarked on such a care giving initiative for that long period at a stretch.
“We really applaud TunMicro for this great work. Having decided to take up this task from the grassroots, there is really going to be a great impact in Nigeria. This is a project we would still like to partner TunMicro on in the future.”
She said that health care is one of the pillars of Keystone Bank’s CSR initiatives, noting that the bank executes, at least, one health beneficial project on quarterly basis as part of its CSR initiatives.
“We are looking at taking this genotype test project beyond just a one-off event, because sickle cell issue is a major issue that needs swift attention in our society. We are set to go beyond just helping them to discover their status to helping on how to manage it to prevent any further crisis or threat that it poses to the health of the human race,” Bamawo assured.
Keystone bank is a Corporate Social Responsibility-driven bank with a strong drive to support humanitarian services projects in the country.
With its capital base of over N40 billion and a total asset base of about $2billion, Keystone Bank is one of the foremost quality service-driven financial institutions in Nigeria.
Ms. Ruth Ebere, Head, Operations at Slum2school, who noted that the organization’s key focus is to advocate and secure quality education to children in the society, described the free genotype test exercise as a welcome decision and a huge success.
She also indicated Slum2school’s willingness to partner with TSCF in other subsequent similar initiative in the near future while also sustaining a long-lasting relationship with TSCF.
Slum2School Africa is a volunteer-driven developmental organization founded in 2012 with a vision to transform the society by empowering disadvantaged children to realize their full potential.
From the result analysis of the just concluded exercise at Makoko, which comprise of about 400 (about 59.7%) male and about 400 (about 40.3%) female children respectively, 71.9% were confirmed AA; 22.7% AS; 4.1% AC and 1.3% SS.
In a common view, one of the beneficiaries of the Makoko exercise Metonu Agbovin, 12 and a parent, Mrs. Rebecca Adaso 43, attested that no such humanitarian service has been brought to them since they have been resident in Makoko.
They expressed their profound gratitude towards the organization’s gesture and urged the team not to relent in their bid to bring more of such humanitarian service to the Makoko community.
According to the United Nation’s report, about one thousand babies are born with sickle cell. But in spite of this dreadful trend, many are yet to be educated about it. And as a result, people have gone ahead to get married to their spouses without due consideration, thereby giving rise to sickle cell crisis-ridden patients.
However, TSCF is committed to reaching out to more beneficiaries cut across the globe with her main focus on the African continent where the sickle cell crisis has made more victims among the newly born, growing children and adult categories around the continent.
TSCF is an international humanitarian organization founded and launched in Belfast, United Kingdom, and Lagos, Nigeria in 2015.
Within four years of impactful operation, the organization has reached out to about 3,000 male and female beneficiaries, including adults and children in Lagos, Ogun and Osun States of Nigeria, as we as in the United Kingdom.