THE historic but sleepy town of Koko, headquarters of Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, came alive last week when a sickle cell clinic was commissioned at the Central Hospital in the area.
For the riverine community, her neighbours and the entire Warri North Council Area, the establishment of the clinic by the O5 Initiative, the pet project of the wife of the state governor, Dame Edith Okowa, was a saving grace to the children, nay persons living with sickle cell.
Thus, the testimonies of two middle-aged mothers including a nurse who relived their harrowing experience of crucial pains and discomfort in surviving the SS crises at the occasion indeed sent jitters into those that were present at the commissioning ceremony especially students and others who were yet to marry as they were told in plain language to go for test and ascertain their genotype.
According to Dame Okowa, O5 Initiative had established seven other functional clinics in Agbor, Ughelli, Oleh, Sapele, Kwale, Eku and Patani with the patients said to be doing well.
The governor’s wife said she became passionate about the carries of sickle cell when she discovered that they were not given the deserved attention in public hospitals in time of emergency involving other cases hence the decision to establish clinics in public health institutions across the state.
Each clinic she said cost estimated N10m and were financed by donors from the local government areas and managed by a committee.
This is as she commended the people of Warri North for helping her to actualise the clinic; notable among them is the member representing the area Hon. Michael Diden and other political personalities in the area.
She said the need for the fight against stigmatisation and misconcept surrounding the sickle cell disorder could not be over emphasised, even as she called on Deltans to lend a helping hand as “we owe ourselves a duty to care for one another, sickle cell is not a death sentence”.
To survival and success children especially those in Koko area, Dame Okowa encouraged them thus “do not give up, each time I look at you, I see a bright future.
“learn to live your pains through smile and have a positive mind set. I pray this facility will alleviate your stress as you visit your genetic councilors regularly”.
Earlier, Dr. G.S Mukoro explained the advantage for persons preparing for marriage to go for genotype test in order to avoid the problem of managing SS children while Dr. Idjerhe Prince spoke on the care for the victims which involves eating of high carbonhydrate foods, fruits and vegetables, drinking of plenty water and above all, showing them extra love.