Sickle cell patients in Abuja have called on Nigerians to stop discriminating against sufferers of the disease in the country.
Mrs Asmau Muhammed, President of the sickle cell community, who condemned such attitude, said Nigerians were expected to treat fellow humans with compassion rather than with disdain.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja, Muhammed said sickle cell sufferers were people who needed love and compassion of those around them, not discrimination or stigma.
She said part of the ways to address this and reduced the number of sufferers in the society was improved and sustained awareness campaigns on genotype testing before marriage.
Muhammed said that the Federal Government and stakeholders could do more in this regard.
“Children living with sickle cell should always be given the opportunity to socialise with other children and to have fun.
“We are calling on Nigerians to treat children living with sickle cell as normal; they should not be isolated or stigmatised.
“They should be made to understand that sickle cell cannot hinder their success in life.
“We are also calling on the government to pay more attention to addressing the cause of the disease.
“Government should look at issues of management of sickle by creating awareness about genotype testing before marriage,’’ she said.
She called on care givers to always endeavour to update parents and sickle cell patients with the latest knowledge on how to manage the disorder.
NAN recalls that June 19, was marked as World Sickle Cell Day.
The community had organised a sensitisation lecture on management of the disorder to mark the day.