Don’t sympathise with people living with Sickle Cell ― Obasanjo

The former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has advised that the people living with Sickle Cell disorder should not be sympathised with but rather stressed the need for more collaborative efforts by partners to foster better education and awareness about sickle cell disease.

Obasanjo, who spoke recently at a 3-day conference organised by Dr Sickle Cell-Center for Sickle Cell Disease, in partnership with Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation, declared that people living with sickle cell need empathy, not sympathy.

He spoke in Lagos as the grand patron of the First African Congress on Sickle Cell Disease (ACSCD). Obasanjo stated that every sickle cell sufferer has a unique story behind the pain they go through therefore, need empathy and not sympathy.

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The 3-day conference was supported by the World Health Organization, and the Federal Ministry of Health amongst other sickle cell foundations across Africa. It was attended by delegates from Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Namibia, India, Netherland, Egypt, Belgium, Canada, United State and the United Kingdom.

Also stressing the urgent need for collaboration and partnership, the co-chair ACSCD Congress, Dr David Ajaere said the burden of sickle cell disease cannot be overcome by any single organization or individual, but through a holistic approach whereby partnerships are forged between organizations and relevant stakeholders with aligned interest and vision in a bid to overcoming sickle cell disease in Africa.

The Director for WHO Africa region, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who was represented by the Coordinator of Non-Communicable Disease Primary Prevention and Integrated Management, Prof Jean-Marie Dangou, spoke on the need to set priorities for National, regional and global Sickle Cell Disease prevention and control programme.