Dr Andrew Ekharogbon, an Umuahia-based physician, has advised the nation’s youths to undergo premarital genotype screening to check the increasing prevalence of sickle cell anaemia.
Ekharogbon, a senior medical officer at Vicar Hope Foundation, a pet project of the Wife of Abia Governor, Mr Nkechi Ikpeazu, gave the advice in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Umuahia on Wednesday.
NAN reports that the foundation was set up by Ikpeazu mainly for the management of sickle cell patients.
He attributed the prevalence of the disease to the wrong matching of couples with conflicting genotypes.
The medical practitioner urged youths to resist the temptation to marry spouses with conflicting genotypes on the basis of love or other sentiments.
According to him, intending couples should ensure that they are in a relationship with compatible partners.
He said: “Before you say ‘I do’ to any man or woman, know the genotype of that person. And if you are not compatible let the person go.
“Our parents made the mistake.In this 21st century if you repeat the mistakes of your parents you are more stupid.”
Ekharogbon said that Nigeria had the highest number of sickle cell victims in the world with at least 150,000 children born annually with the disorder.
He further said that Nigeria carried 50 per cent of the global burden, with over 300,000 sickle cell babies born globally.
He said that the lack of adequate sensitisation on genotype among intending couples and the absence of realistic government policies had led to the spread of the genetic disease in the country.
Dr Andrew Ekharogbon, an Umuahia-based physician , has advised the youths to do premarital genotype screening to avert bearing children affected sickle cell anaemia.