By Miracle Enuji
A bill seeking for the establishment of Sickle Cell Centers in Delta State, has scaled through its second reading on the floor of the Delta State House of Assembly.
Co-Sponsored by 15 Honourable Members, the Sickle Cell Center Bill was the Brain Child of Late Hon. Mrs. Beatrice Omawumi Udoh, who first rolled out the bill in 2008 but was clogged by setbacks.
Leading the debate during Tuesday’s Plenary Session, Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Pat Ajudua extolled the late member’s vision of the center, saying, “the very first time the bill came to the House, it was sponsored by our late colleague, Hon. Mrs. Beatrice Omawumi Udoh and so we give her the credit and give God the glory. 15 Members of the House came together and reasoned it out that thought it wise to resurface this bill to give it attention, so that those who are carriers of Sickle cell disease will be taken care of.”
Speaking further, the Chief Whip said, “With these centers, information will be disseminated, there will be campaign and awareness will be created. Preventive measures will be in place and Children will be arranged. In a situation whereby a sickle cell carrier goes to a general hospital, stay on a queue for several hours and even at the point of death, it cannot work that way. But when we have specialized centers, they can easily go for their treatments anytime. Medical Doctors who are experts in handling sickle cell disease will be readily available to attend to them. So there is every need for us to establish these centers.”
Hon. Ajudua submitted that Sickle Cell Anaemia is a widely known killer disease noting that the carriers are always sick and it is a condition that needs special attention and so this bill is proposing a center for carriers of sickle cell disease. “Anyone who has a child that is a sickle cell patient, cannot be comfortable because the expectation of the bad news will always be there.”
She added that, many NGOs both local and international are passionate about sickle cell patients and are willing to help but when such centers or outlets do not exist, they will not come to the aid of the people.
Lending their support to the bill, Hon. Preyo Obor, Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri, Hon. Alphonsus Ojo and Hon. Angela Nwaka harped that more awareness, enlightenment, orientation and increased welfare for carriers and patients will be created with the establishment of these centers across the State.
The propagation of Sickle Cell disease can be prevented through enlightenment as against the spiritual attribution of the Abiku. – Hon. Oboro
These centers will provide Deltans with good health care facilities as the welfare of our constituents is our primary responsibility. – Hon Elekeokwuri
This bill will check marriage arrangements because before people get married, they ought to be tested in order to ascertain their genotype. This will create awareness of the Disease. – Hon. Nwaka
While Hon. Dr. Alphonsus Ojo in his analysis of the Sickle Cell Anaemia, sent shivers down the spines of his colleagues and those at the gallery when he revealed that he is a Carrier.
The House yet commended the efforts of Her Excellency, Dame Edith Okowa for setting up Clinics in every local government areas of the state to treat sickle cell anemia carriers, assuring that this bill when passed into law will give a legal backing to what the First lady is doing through her 05 initiative project.
The bill which enjoyed the total support of all Honourable Members was thereafter committed to an adhoc committee for further deliberation with Hon. Dr. Alphonsus Ojo as Chairman.