Collaboration to Address Sickle Cell Disease in Nigeria
By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President
Nigeria is considered the epicenter for Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), a serious, inherited condition affecting the blood and various organs in the body. It affects the red blood cells, causing episodes of sickling, which produce episodes of pain and other symptoms. In between episodes of sickling, people with SCD are normally well. Long-term complications can occur. Certain conditions can trigger sickling, such as cold, infection, lack of fluid in the body (dehydration) or low oxygen. Good treatment, started early in life, can prevent complications. So, early diagnosis and specialist treatment are advised for SCD.
With an estimated 150,000 babies born annually with sickle cell anemia – regarded as the most common form of sickle cell disease, Nigeria accounts for almost half of the share of more than 300,000 babies with severe hemoglobin disorders born globally each year. In many cases SCD cannot be cured, so lifelong treatment and monitoring are needed. There are a few different treatments which help to prevent sickling episodes or prevent related problems such as infection, but many treatments involve providing comfort and pain management.
MedShare has a long history of partnering with organizations with a specific focus on improving access to quality healthcare for patients suffering from SCD in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. These organizations have included Prosper Foundation for SCD, Comfort and Smile for Children and Families affected by SCD and the Martha Foundation, where critical medical supplies and beds were provided.
Most recently in 2021, MedShare collaborated with the Amoke Foundation to provide comfort and care for SCD patients in Nigeria. Amoke is a humanitarian aid organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people suffering from Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) worldwide with a focus on medically underserved communities in sub-Saharan Africa. The charitable organization was established in memory of Dr. Oluyemisi Adetunji-Badejo, a pediatrician who died in 2010 from complications associated with SCD. Amoke is a female name derived from a Yoruba word meaning “to know her is to cherish her.”
Amoke shared with us that 80% of the people with SCD lived in sub-Saharan Africa and that 1000 children in Africa are born every day with SCD. Their desire to provide patient-centered programs for medically underserved communities in sub-Saharan Africa comes from a deeply personal place as they aim to honor the legacy of Dr. Adetunji-Badejo.
In working together Amoke has fulfilled one of its promises less than six months after the official launch of the charitable organization in 2021. In collaboration with MedShare, a large delivery of medical equipment and supplies was delivered to the University College Hospital Ibadan – the location of its first Pain Management Hub (PMH) in sub-Saharan Africa. The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, and his management team were available to receive the donation and expressed extreme gratitude. The MedShare donation also included devices and equipment specifically for use in the PMH which were delivered to the hematology center, where Dr. Taiwo Kotila received the donation.
Other health organizations that benefited from the aid include:
- Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities in Oluyole LGA of Oyo State, Nigeria. The Hon. Tolu Akande-Sadipe, the member of the Federal House of Representative was at the local government offices to take delivery of the materials.
- Ibadan Sickle Cell Foundation (IBSCF) – an inner-city initiative with a focus on providing treatment services to sickle cell patients using phytomedicinal products and care/compassion. The founder, a retired nurse Ms. Buky Ajiboye, is a dedicated service provider making a difference at the grassroot level.
- Outreach Signature Hospital – a women and children’s hospital dedicated to the reduction in deaths associated with SCD. Dr. Efunbo Dosekun, the Chairman / CEO of the hospital took delivery of the items.
- Adeyinka Medical Centre – a pediatric clinic serving the community and run by Dr. Elugbadebo, a retired doctor working tirelessly for low-income patients in the area.
“Once again on behalf of the foundation and the beneficiaries, please accept our sincere appreciation for the donations and the generosity of your team’s time in ensuring the resounding success the project turned out to be.“ ~ Mr. Jide Adetunji. Trustee & Co-founder, Amoke Foundation
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious condition which may shorten life. Without treatment, people with SCD may die in childhood, from problems such as infection. Good treatment makes a great difference. Organizations like Amoke are dedicated to the quality of care and life expectancy of patients living with SCD.